Long-term effectiveness of web-based cognitive behavioral therapy for patients with eating disorders

Elke D. ter Huurne*, Hein A. de Haan, Marloes G. Postel, Cor A.J. DeJong, Joanne van der Nagel, Job van der Palen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
168 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: To evaluate the long-term effectiveness of a web-based therapist-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for patients with eating disorders (ED).

Methods: We used follow-up data from a randomized controlled trial that evaluated a web-based CBT on ED psychopathology and related health, compared to a waiting list control (WL) condition. As participants of the WL condition started the intervention after their waiting period, follow-up data included participants from both groups. The primary outcome was change from baseline, at 3, 6, and 12-month intervals in ED psychopathology, analyzed using mixed models for repeated measures. Secondary outcomes included body dissatisfaction, BMI, physical health, mental health, self-esteem, quality of life, and social functioning.

Results: The population comprised 212 participants in total, in three subgroups: bulimia nervosa (BN; n = 44), binge eating disorder (BED; n = 83), and ED not otherwise specified (EDNOS; n = 85). Treatment effects were sustained during follow-up, with generally large effect sizes for the reduction of ED psychopathology and body dissatisfaction, and small to moderate effect sizes for physical and mental health, self-esteem, social functioning, and quality of life. Most effects were found for all three subgroups, except for long-term improvements in self-esteem and quality of life among participants with BN and EDNOS.

Conclusion: This study showed long-term sustainability of treatment effects up to 1-year post-treatment of a web-based therapist-delivered CBT for patients with various ED.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-919
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2020


  • Binge eating disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Eating disorders
  • Long-term effectiveness
  • Web-based treatment
  • eHealth
  • 22/4 OA procedure


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