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Psychother Res. 2019 Nov;29(8):1045-1061. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2018.1446563. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

Implementation of transdiagnostic treatment for emotional disorders in residential eating disorder programs: A preliminary pre-post evaluation.

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Department of Clinical Psychology, Boston University , Boston , MA , USA.
Department of Psychology, University at Albany, SUNY , Albany , NY , USA.
Department of Psychology, Drexel University , Philadelphia , PA , USA.
The Renfrew Center , Coconut Creek , FL , USA.

Erratum in


Objective: Data are lacking from empirically supported therapies implemented in residential programs for eating disorders (EDs). Common elements treatments may be well-suited to address the complex implementation and treatment challenges that characterize these settings. This study assessed the preliminary effect of implementing a common elements therapy on clinician treatment delivery and patient (N = 616) symptom outcomes in two residential ED programs. Method: The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders was adapted to address ED and co-occurring psychopathology and implemented across sites. Therapists' treatment fidelity was rated independently to assess implementation success. Additionally, longitudinal (pre-post) design compared treatment outcomes among patients treated before and after implementation. Patient outcomes included ED and depressive symptoms, experiential avoidance, anxiety sensitivity, and mindfulness. Results: Following training and implementation, clinicians demonstrated adequate to good fidelity. Relative to pre-implementation, post-implementation patients showed significantly greater improvements in experiential avoidance, anxiety sensitivity, and mindfulness at discharge (ps ≤ .04) Relative to patients who were treated during the pre-implementation phase, patients in the post-implementation phase experienced more favorable outcomes on ED symptom severity, depression, mindfulness, and anxiety sensitivity at 6-month-follow-up (ps ≤ .001). A similar result was observed for experiential avoidance, yet this interaction effect was no longer statistically significant (p = .10) when the time x length of stay effect/covariate was added to the model. Conclusions: Preliminary pilot data support the feasibility of implementing transdiagnostic common elements therapy in residential ED treatment, and suggest that implementation may benefit transdiagnostic outcomes for patients. Clinical or methodological significance of this article: Limited data are available to guide evidence-based residential treatment for eating disorders. This study represents a unique effort to adapt, implement, and test an evidence-based therapy protocol across a large private network of intensive eating disorder treatment programs.


eating disorders; integrative treatment models; mental health services research; outcome research; residential treatment

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