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Psychiatry Res. 2013 Oct 30;209(3):619-25. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2013.02.023. Epub 2013 Mar 15.

Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy supported by virtual reality in the treatment of body image in eating disorders: one year follow-up.

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Department of Personality, Assessment and Treatment in Health Science, Catholic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain. Electronic address:


Body image disturbance is a significant maintenance and prognosis factor in eating disorders. Hence, existing eating disorder treatments can benefit from direct intervention in patients' body image. No controlled studies have yet compared eating disorder treatments with and without a treatment component centered on body image. This paper includes a controlled study comparing Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) for eating disorders with and without a component for body image treatment using Virtual Reality techniques. Thirty-four participants diagnosed with eating disorders were evaluated and treated. The clinical improvement was analyzed from statistical and clinical points of view. Results showed that the patients who received the component for body image treatment improved more than the group without this component. Furthermore, improvement was maintained in post-treatment and at one year follow-up. The results reveal the advantage of including a treatment component addressing body image disturbances in the protocol for general treatment of eating disorders. The implications and limitations of these results are discussed below.


Anorexia; Bulimia nervosa; Cognitive-behavioral-treatment; Outpatient; Personality disorders; Randomized controlled trial; Virtual systems

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