Mobile Self-Help Interventions for Anorexia Nervosa: Conceptual, Ethical, and Methodological Considerations for Clinicians and Researchers

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Professional Psychology: Research and Practice


Recent advances in the availability of mobile applications and Internet-based programs for eating disorder treatment call for a discussion of the acceptability, efficacy, and implications of these tools, as well as the practicality of using them to augment treatment as usual. The authors review and critically evaluate several conceptual, ethical, and pragmatic issues associated with employing a mobile-guided self-help intervention for anorexia nervosa (AN). The authors then describe the development of a mobile guided self-help intervention currently under evaluation among inpatients and outpatients with AN. We delineate ways in which these tools can enhance the accuracy of assessment, increase access to psychotherapy (such as by facilitating motivation and confidence to change), and complement the efficacy of adjunct treatments for eating disorders. Moreover, the portability of mobile-guided self-help is particularly appealing given the range of precipitating and maintaining factors that individuals with eating disorders face in their natural environments. We describe preliminary feedback from pilot research investigating the acceptability and feasibility of a mobile-guided self-help intervention for inpatients and outpatients with AN. We conclude by offering practical suggestions for clinicians who seek to incorporate aspects of mobile-guided self-help in their daily practice for people with eating disorders.


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