Enhancing quality of life in people with disordered eating using an online self-help programme

Sau Fong Leung, Joyce L.C. Ma, Janice Russell

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that have a significant effect on afflicted individuals' quality of life. Evidence has shown that they can be improved with treatment. Internet-based interventions are useful in engaging individuals with eating disorders in self-management and treatment. This study aimed primarily to identify the change in quality of life of individuals with disordered eating after participating in an open trial of an Internet-based self-help programme, and compared their quality of life at assessment with that of healthy controls. Factors affecting their quality of life were examined. Secondary outcomes related to symptom improvement were also reported. Methods: This study included 194 individuals with disordered eating and 50 healthy controls. The former group was recruited from eating disorder outpatient clinics and treatment units, as well as via information disseminated through various Internet websites, while the healthy controls were recruited from university student newspapers and university campuses. The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form Survey (SF-36v2) was used to assess participants' quality of life. Other measures were used to assess their symptoms and motivational stages of change to recover from an eating disorder. The Wilcoxon signed ranks test and one-way repeated measures ANOVA were used to identify the change in quality of life of individuals with disordered eating from baseline to 1-, 3- and 6-month follow-ups. The Mann-Whitney U test was employed to compare the difference in quality of life between participants with disordered eating and the healthy controls. Spearman rank order correlations were performed to examine the factors associated with quality of life. Results: The participants with disordered eating had significantly poorer quality of life than the healthy controls in both physical and psychological domains. The factors associated with their poor quality of life included dieting behaviour, use of laxatives, severe eating disorder psychopathology, depression and anxiety. Over a six-month follow-up period, a significant number of participants engaged in self-help behaviours using the Internet-based programme. They experienced improvements in their quality of life, eating disorder psychopathology, depression severity, anxiety level and motivational stages of change. Conclusions: Internet-based self-help programmes have the potential to enhance quality of life in individuals with disordered eating and could be useful adjuncts to professional treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2013

Keywords

  • Eating disorders
  • Internet-based self-help programme
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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