The potential value of brief waitlist interventions in enhancing treatment retention and outcomes: a randomised controlled trial

Ella Keegan, Glenn Waller, Kate Tchanturia, Tracey D Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

People with eating disorders are often placed on lengthy waitlists for treatment. This is problematic, as increased time spent on waitlists has been shown to predict dropout. We examined whether providing brief interventions to people on a waitlist improved retention or outcomes in treatment. Participants ( N  = 85) were referred to a university training clinic for 10-session cognitive behavioural therapy for non-underweight patients with eating disorders (CBT-T). While waitlisted for CBT-T, participants were randomised to one of two waitlist interventions or a control condition. In one waitlist intervention (CRT-Brief), participants received a cognitive remediation therapy session at the start of the waitlist period. In the other waitlist intervention (brief contact), participants were sent a short supportive email and psychoeducation halfway through the waitlist period. The control condition was waitlist as usual. There was no evidence to suggest that the waitlist interventions improved symptoms during the waitlist period or CBT-T. However, participants who received a waitlist intervention were three times more likely to complete treatment. The present study suggests that providing even brief contact while people are waitlisted for eating disorder treatment significantly improves retention. However, replication in a more adequately powered study is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 May 2024

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