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




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.


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.


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.


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)