Aim. The aim of this study was to evaluate the self-help behaviour of individuals with eating disorders in an Internet-based self-help programme developed in the Asia-Pacific region and to determine their compliance with the programme. Background. Eating disorders represent a growing health problem affecting both Western and Asian countries. Without timely and adequate treatment, individuals with eating disorders are at risk of premature death. Self-help approaches for treating eating disorders offer therapeutic promise. Design. An open trial design was used. Method. This study, conducted from August 2006-July 2011, included 280 participants recruited from outpatient eating disorder clinics and treatment units and through a university student newspaper and Internet websites. This open trial evaluated an Internet-based self-help programme, which included components on healthy eating, family education, health assessment, motivation enhancement, self-help strategies, and psychological health promotion. The progress of participants was followed up via monthly e-mails. A tracking system was implemented to determine their compliance with the programme. Findings. A small majority of the participants (56·9%) were already undergoing treatment for their eating disorders. About 63% (n=176) demonstrated self-help behaviour, as manifested by their completion of health assessment questionnaires, involvement in motivation enhancement exercises, or the use of self-help strategies such as monitoring, normalizing eating behaviour, and stress management. Improvements were observed in their eating disorder psychopathology, motivational stage of change and psychological health from baseline to the 1-month follow up. Conclusion. Internet-based self-help programmes for eating disorders are helpful adjuncts to professional treatment.
- Eating disorders
- Internet-based self-help programme
- Self-help behaviour
ASJC Scopus subject areas