Digital guided self-help for eating disorders: thematic analysis of participant text messages to coaches

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit
  • Orly Idan
  • Lauren A. Fowler
  • Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft
  • Marie-Laure Firebaugh
  • Arielle Smith
  • Andrea K. Graham
  • Neha J. Goelf
  • Rachael E. Flatt
  • Katherine N. Balantekinh
  • Grace E. Monterubiod
  • Anna M. Karam
  • Burkhardt Funk
  • Mickey T. Trockel
  • Denise E. Wilfley
  • Craig Barr Taylor
Digital guided self-help for eating disorders (GSH-ED) can reduce treatment disparities. Understanding program participants’ interests throughout the program can help adapt programs to the service users’ needs. Participants were 383 college students receiving a digital GSH-ED, who were each assigned a coach to help them better utilize the intervention through text correspondence. A thematic and affective analysis of the texts participants had sent found they primarily focused on: strategies for changing their ED-related cognitions, behaviors, and relationships; describing symptoms without expressing an active endeavor to change; and participants’ relationship with their coach. Most texts also expressed affect, demonstrating emotional engagement with the intervention. Findings suggest that participants in GSH-ED demonstrate high involvement with the intervention, and discuss topics that are similar to those reported in clinician-facilitated interventions. The themes discussed by digital program participants can inform future iterations of GSH-ED, thereby increasing scalability and accessibility of digital evidence-based ED interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEating Disorders, The Journal of Treatment & Prevention
Number of pages9
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30.09.2022

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