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Int J Eat Disord. 2015 Nov;48(7):1024-37. doi: 10.1002/eat.22416. Epub 2015 Jun 6.

Mindfulness-based prevention for eating disorders: A school-based cluster randomized controlled study.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia.
2
Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Successful prevention of eating disorders represents an important goal due to damaging long-term impacts on health and well-being, modest treatment outcomes, and low treatment seeking among individuals at risk. Mindfulness-based approaches have received early support in the treatment of eating disorders, but have not been evaluated as a prevention strategy. This study aimed to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of a novel mindfulness-based intervention for reducing the risk of eating disorders among adolescent females, under both optimal (trained facilitator) and task-shifted (non-expert facilitator) conditions.

METHOD:

A school-based cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted in which 19 classes of adolescent girls (N = 347) were allocated to a three-session mindfulness-based intervention, dissonance-based intervention, or classes as usual control. A subset of classes (N = 156) receiving expert facilitation were analyzed separately as a proxy for delivery under optimal conditions.

RESULTS:

Task-shifted facilitation showed no significant intervention effects across outcomes. Under optimal facilitation, students receiving mindfulness demonstrated significant reductions in weight and shape concern, dietary restraint, thin-ideal internalization, eating disorder symptoms, and psychosocial impairment relative to control by 6-month follow-up. Students receiving dissonance showed significant reductions in socio-cultural pressures. There were no statistically significant differences between the two interventions. Moderate intervention acceptability was reported by both students and teaching staff.

DISCUSSION:

Findings show promise for the application of mindfulness in the prevention of eating disorders; however, further work is required to increase both impact and acceptability, and to enable successful outcomes when delivered by less expert providers.

KEYWORDS:

cognitive dissonance; eating disorders; mindfulness; prevention

PMID:
26052831
DOI:
10.1002/eat.22416
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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