Motivation to change in the eating disorders: A systematic review




The aim of the study was to review the eating disorder literature in order to examine the effect of pretreatment autonomous/level of motivation to change on treatment outcome as measured by change in eating disorder pathology.


Relevant databases were systematically searched for studies in which motivation to change prior to treatment was examined in relation to treatment outcome.


Pretreatment autonomous/level of motivation were associated with change in restrictive eating behaviors, bingeing behaviors, and cognitive/affective measures of eating disorder pathology. There was mixed support for the effect of motivation to change on global measures of eating disorder symptoms and virtually no support for the effect of motivation to change on purging behavior.


The level of pretreatment motivation the person exhibits prior to commencement of treatment appears to be helpful in predicting treatment outcome. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013; 46:755–763)