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Keywords:

  • Internet relay chat;
  • computer-based intervention;
  • eating disorders;
  • prevention;
  • body image concerns

Abstract

Objective

The Internet serves as a potentially effective method of treatment delivery through widespread education and interaction via synchronous Internet relay chat (IRC). The current study explores the feasibility of IRC in the delivery of an eating disorders prevention intervention.

Method

This small pilot study describes the delivery of an efficacious eating disorder treatment using a novel medium. The on-line sessions are based on cognitive-behavioral treatment and are facilitated by a moderator. In addition to feasibility, preliminary evidence of acceptability and efficacy for an on-line intervention with college-aged women is reported.

Results

Results indicate that IRC is an acceptable and feasible format for treatment delivery. In addition, descriptive and qualitative data suggest that this method of treatment delivery is potentially effective.

Discussion

This pilot study provides increased knowledge of the viability of treatment delivery over the Internet, specifically, a psychoeducational IRC for eating disorder prevention. © 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 30: 129–137, 2001.