Internet-Based Chat Support Groups for Parents in Family-Based Treatment for Adolescent Eating Disorders: A Pilot Study


  • Portions of this article were presented as a paper at the International Conference on Eating Disorders, 10–12 June 2010, Salzburg, Austria.

Correspondence: Dr. Roslyn Binford Hopf, PhD, The University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 3077, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.




This study aims to examine the feasibility and acceptability of an Internet-based chat support group for parents implementing family-based treatment (FBT).


Participants (N = 13) were parents of adolescents with eating disorder who participated in 15 weekly online therapist-guided chat sessions. Sessions focused on encouraging and supporting parental efforts to help their child overcome an eating disorder.


Chat programme satisfaction ratings were high (91.7%). Participants reported looking forward to chat sessions and would recommend the chat to others. The vast majority reported that the chat helped them cope with their child's eating disorder and to implement FBT. Participants reported feeling that they could talk openly and honestly in sessions and had a sense of belonging to the group. Relatively few technical problems were reported, and the chat was rated as accessible, convenient and easy to use.


Findings provide preliminary support for the utility of an online parent chat as an adjunct to FBT. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.