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.
- eating disorders
- mental health
- randomized controlled trial
- PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENTS