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A systematic review of evidence for psychological treatments in eating disorders: 2005–2012


  • Phillipa Hay PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Foundation Chair of Mental Health & Centre for Health Research, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Australia
    2. Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, James Cook University, Australia
    • University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797 Penrith NSW 2751 Australia
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To update new evidence for psychotherapies in eating disorders (EDs) since 2005–September 2012.


Completed and published in the English language randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified by SCOPUS search using terms “bulimia” or “binge eating disorder” (BED) or “anorexia nervosa” (AN) or “eating disorder” and “treatment,” and 36 new RCTs met inclusion criteria.


There has been progress in the evidence for family based treatment in adolescents with AN, for cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in full and guided forms, and new modes of delivery for bulimia nervosa (BN), BED, and eating disorder not otherwise specified with binge eating. Risk of bias was low to moderate in 22 (61%) of RCTs.


The evidence base for AN has improved and CBT has retained and extended its status as first-line therapy for BN. However, further research is needed, in particular noninferiority trials of active therapies and the best approach to addressing ED features and weight management in co-morbid BED and obesity. © 2013 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013; 46:462–469)