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

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review

Authors

  • 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
Volume31
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants R01 MH100455, T32 HL007456, T32 HL130357, K08 MH120341, K01 DK116925, K23 DK114480, K01 DK120778, and F31 MD015679. The authors would like to thank the participants and the coaches that took part in this study.

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