School of Health in Social Science

Developing and evaluating interventions for eating disorders

We are evaluating a number of interventions and resources that aim to support young people with body image difficulties and eating disorders. The interventions under investigation include Interpersonal Psychotherapy Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Peer Support and Digital interventions.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Body Image (IPT-BI)  

We are evaluating a new body image intervention aimed at young people who are worried about their appearance. It is designed to help them develop the skills to navigate difficulties in relationships that are affected by body image, such as bullying, conflict with family, or fat talk. The programme is called Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Body Image (IPT-BI) and is designed to help young people develop the skills to navigate difficulties in relationships that are affected their body image (e.g., bullying, conflict with family, fat talk).   

Preliminary findings show that: 

  • Young people found the programme to be helpful 
  • Recruiting young people from schools was feasible 
  • IPT-BI seems to improve young people's body image and interpersonal difficulties 

IPT for non-underweight eating disorders in adolescents.  

We are currently developing an IPT protocol for non-underweight eating disorders in adolescence (e.g. binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED etc.).  The aim is to pilot this work within the context of a feasibility and acceptability study within a clinical population.

Peer Support Interventions 

We are also working to evaluate two peer support options available to young people with eating disorders and their carers. Through collaboration with Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, and NHS Lothian, this study focuses on two peer support services in Scotland. 

  • ECHO is a telephone-based peer support services for carers of people with eating disorders 
  • SHARED is an email-based peer support service for young people with eating disorders 

Learn more about these services 

Social media and body image resources for schools and youth groups - BIAS 

In this study, we worked with NHS Lothian to design peer-led resources to support young people to have discussions about social media and the impact this may be having on their body image. This resource is free to use and can be downloaded from the NHS Lothian using the link below. 

Download the resource

Funded by Technology Enabled Scotland, Scottish Government and National Lottery