Eating Disorders and Motivational Interviewing

Aug 13, 2015 | eating disorders, motivational interviewing

Engaging patients with an eating disorder in change is difficult and intensive treatment programs have high drop-out rates.

A study by Carmen Weiss and associates and published in the Eating Disorders Journal (2013) sought to determine whether Motivational Interviewing (MI) in the form of a brief, pre-treatment intervention would be associated with higher completion rates in subsequent intensive treatment for an eating disorder.

Thirty-two participants diagnosed with an eating disorder and waitlisted for admission to an intensive, hospital-based treatment program participated in the study. Sixteen participants were randomly assigned to four individual sessions of MI that began prior to entrance into the treatment program (MI condition) and 16 participants were assigned to treatment as usual (control condition).

Participants in the MI condition were significantly more likely to complete intensive treatment (69% completion rate) than were those in the control condition (31%).

MI as a brief prelude to hospital-based treatment for an eating disorder showed promising results in helping to improve completion rates.

Weiss CV, Mills JS, Westra HA, Carter JC: A preliminary study of motivational interviewing as a prelude to intensive treatment for an eating disorder. Journal of Eating Disorders 2013, 1:34

Full text available here.

Eating disorder clients show higher treatment completion rate with Motivational Interviewing (more than double).

Motivational Interviewing (MI) can be a useful intervention to engage individuals with severe eating disorders prior to participation in intensive treatment.