The efficacy of a brief motivational intervention for individuals with eating disorders: A randomized control trial


  • Portions of this research were presented at the annual meeting of the Eating Disorders Research Society, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2004; the Academy for Eating Disorders 2005 International Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; the annual meeting of the Eating Disorders Research Society, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia, 2006; and the Academy for Eating Disorders 2007 International Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



Individuals with eating disorders are often ambivalent about recovery, and previous research has shown that readiness for change predicts enrollment in intensive treatment, symptom change, dropout, and relapse. Given the demonstrated importance of readiness for change, researchers and clinicians have turned to investigating interventions designed to enhance motivation. The purpose of this research was to determine the efficacy of Readiness and Motivation Therapy (RMT), a five-session individual preparatory intervention for individuals with eating disorders.


Participants completed the Readiness and Motivation Interview and measures of eating disorder symptomatology, self-esteem, and psychiatric symptoms at intake. One hundred eighty-one participants were randomly assigned to the treatment (RMT) or wait-list control condition and were reassessed at 6-week and 3-month follow-up; 113 completed assessments at all three time points and primary analyses were based on these individuals.


Surprisingly, improvements in readiness for change, depression, drive for thinness, and bulimia symptoms occurred over time in both RMT and control conditions. However, at post and at follow-up, individuals who received RMT were less likely to have high ambivalence than were those from the control condition.


RMT may be of benefit to highly reluctant, clinically challenging patients and help them make better use of future, action-oriented treatment. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2011