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Psychiatry Res. 2012 Nov 30;200(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.05.013. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

The use of motivational interviewing in eating disorders: a systematic review.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.


This review examines the effectiveness of interventions that include the principles and techniques of motivational interviewing (MI) and its adaptations in the treatment of eating disorders. The aims are (1) to examine both the context and effectiveness of MI and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) when used with either patients or carers of people with eating disorders, (2) to identify limitations and/or difficulties in this process and (3) to identify further research needs in this area. Electronic databases were searched up until April 2012. Articles were screened according to predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Thirteen studies were finally selected for inclusion. A wide range of participants, interventions and outcomes were measured which made comparative analysis difficult. Promising results were found for interventions that included MI, particularly with regards to its use in increasing a readiness and motivation to change. Consequently, there is potential for using MI in the field of eating disorders, particularly with respect to 'readiness for change'. More homogeneity in study design and delivery of MI is needed along with some markers of treatment fidelity, including information as to how adherence to the intervention is assured.

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