The effectiveness of a brief eating disorder training programme in medical settings

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the longitudinal effectiveness of a brief eating disorder training on primary care providers' self-perceived knowledge, skills and attitudes regarding eating disorder screening and intervention.

Method:

We trained 45 primary care providers (including nurses, nurse practitioners and physicians) practicing in 10 medical sites and measured their self-perceived knowledge, skills and attitudes on eating disorder screening and intervention using a 23-item questionnaire prior to, 1 week and 6 months after the training.

Results:

The eating disorder knowledge score and eating disorder skill level score showed pretest to posttest gains that were associated with large effect sizes (d=1.25 and 1.31, respectively). The significance and magnitude of effects carried over through the 6-month follow-up evaluation. Unlike the eating disorder knowledge and skill scores, there was no significant improvement in eating disorder attitudes from pretest to posttest or from pretest to the 6-month follow-up.

Discussion:

Findings show support for the effectiveness of a brief eating disorder training on primary care providers' reported knowledge and skills for addressing eating disorders in their practice. These results underscore the importance of providing information to primary care providers on how they can more adequately screen and intervene with eating disorders, as part of primary care to their patients.

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