Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Criteria for recovery from eating disorder patients: a comparison between therapists, patients and a healthy control group

Which criteria do ED patients and therapists evaluate as most relevant for recovery? Do patients and therapists differ in their evaluations? Do eating disorder patients differ from a healthy control group in their scores on the Recovery Scale?

Greta Noordenbos

Aim of research:  Lack of consensus about criteria for recovery from eating disorders results in greatly varying percentages of recovered patients. Outcome studies not only use different criteria for recovery, but also quite different instruments, rendering their results incomparable. The same problem occurs among studies of predictors for recovery from eating disorders. Without consensus on criteria for recovery, it is not clear which goals of treatment are important to realize full recovery.

Methods:  Based on research about recovery and effect studies a Recovery Questionnaire was developed consisting of 53 items which were divided in six subscales: eating behaviour, body attitude, physical recovery, psychological recovery, emotion regulation and social relations (Noordenbos & Seubring, 2006).

A group of recovered eating disorder patients and therapists specialized in the treatment of eating disorders filled out this questionnaire. Not only criteria about the reduction of eating disorders symptoms were evaluated as important, but also the improvement of body image, self esteem, and social coping strategies were evaluated as important for full recovery. Only slight differences were found between the opinions of former patients and therapists (Noordenbos, 2010, 2011).

In the period from 2010 till 2014 the Recovery Questionnaire for Eating Disorders is used in the Eating Disorder Clinic ‘Human Concern.’ More than 300 clients have filled in the Recovery Questionnaire. After their treatment they showed a significant progress in recovery on all 6 subscales about eating behaviour, body attitude, physical recovery, psychological recovery, emotion regulation and social relations.

In the coming years the Recovery Questionnaire will be validated, whereby a group of  more than 100 healthy women from 18-48 years fill in the questionnaire. Their scores will be compared with the scores of eating disorder patients at onset of treatment, at the end of treatment and at follow-up , 6 months after treatment.

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