Interventions for caregivers of someone with an eating disorder: A meta-analysis


  • Supported by PB-PG-0609-19025 from National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for Patient Benefit Programme, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health, South London, and by Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London (to J.T.).



A variety of interventions have been developed for caregivers of people with an eating disorder either to help them cope with the burden and distress that commonly accompanies this role or to make them more effective at providing support. The aim of the study is to perform a meta-analysis of quantitative studies that have described the impact of these interventions on caregivers.


Electronic databases were searched between September 2001 and September 2013. Thirteen studies were finally selected for inclusion. Pooled effect size estimates were summarized. Meta-regressions were used to determine whether type of intervention, team, measure used or risk of bias were effect modifiers of the relationship. We also summarized the content and form (amount of professional help) of the interventions.


Most interventions produced a moderate sized reduction in carer distress and a small/moderate reduction in carer burden and expressed emotion post treatment and these changes were maintained over follow-up.


Carer distress, burden and expressed emotion can be reduced by a variety of psychoeducational interventions and these changes are sustainable over time. The interventions themselves are easy to disseminate and deliver. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2015; 48:349–361)