The research–practice Gap: Bridging the schism between eating disorder researchers and practitioners

Authors


Abstract

Objective:

The field of eating disorders (EDs) treatment has been beset by a marked disjunction between scientific evidence and clinical application. We describe the nature and scope of the research–practice gap in the ED field.

Method:

We draw on surveys and broader literature to better understand the research–practice gap in ED treatment and reasons for resistance to evidence-based practice.

Results:

We identify three sources of the research–practice gap: (1) attitudinal factors, (2) differences in the definition of “evidence,” and (3) cognitive factors, especially naïve realism and confirmation bias. We affirm the role of science as a safeguard against human fallibility and as a means of bridging the research–practice gap, and delineate key principles of scientific thinking for ED researchers and practitioners.

Discussion:

We conclude with proposals for narrowing the research–practice gap in ED treatment and enhancing the quality of interventions for ED clients. © 2013 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013; 46:386–394)

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