An mHealth intervention for the treatment of patients with an eating disorder: A multicenter randomized controlled trial

Dimitra Anastasiadou*, Frans Folkvord, Agostino Brugnera, Laura Canas Vinader, Eduardo SerranoTroncoso, Cristina Carretero Jardi, Raquel Linares Bertolin, Rudiger Munoz Rodriguez, Beatriz Martinez Nunez, Montserrat Graell Berna, Jordi Torralbas-Ortega, Lidia Torrent-Sola, Joaquim Punti-Vidal, Maria Carrera Ferrer, Andrea Munoz Domenjo, Marina Diaz Marsa, Katarina Gunnard, Jordi Cusido, Jordina Arcal Cunillera, Francisco Lupianez-Villanueva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Objective The current multicentre randomized controlled trial assessed the clinical efficacy of a combined mHealth intervention for eating disorders (EDs) based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Method A total of 106 ED patients from eight different public and private mental health services in Spain were randomly assigned to two parallel groups. Patients of the experimental group (N = 53) received standard face-to-face CBT plus a mobile intervention through an application called "TCApp," which provides self-monitoring and an online chat with the therapist. The control group (N = 53) received standard face-to-face CBT only. Patients completed self-report questionnaires on ED symptomatology, anxiety, depression, and quality of life, before and after treatment.

Results Significant reductions in primary and secondary outcomes were observed for participants of both groups, with no differences between groups. Results also suggested that the frequency with which patients attended their referral mental health institution after the intervention was lower for patients in the experimental group than for those in the control group.

Discussion The current study showed that CBT can help to reduce symptoms relating to ED, regardless of whether its delivery includes online components in addition to traditional face-to-face treatment. Besides, the additional component offered by the TCApp does not appear to be promising from a purely therapeutic perspective but perhaps as a cost-effective tool, reducing thus the costs and time burden associated with weekly visits to health professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1120-1131
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • eating disorders
  • mental health
  • mHealth
  • randomized controlled trial
  • COST
  • HELP


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