Mexican American Women’s Perspectives on a Culturally Adapted Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Guided Self-Help Program for Binge Eating

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The prevalence of bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) among Latinas is comparable to those of the general population; however, few interventions and treatment trial research have focused on this group. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for binge eating related disorders. CBT-based guided self-help (CBTgsh)—a low-cost minimal intervention—has also been shown effective in improving binge eating related symptom, but the effectiveness of the CBTgsh among ethnic minority women is not well understood. Cultural adaptation of evidence-based treatments can be an important step for promoting treatment accessibility and engagement among underserved groups. This qualitative study was part of a larger investigation that examined the feasibility and efficacy of a culturally adapted CBTgsh program among Mexican American women with binge eating disorders. Posttreatment focus groups were conducted with 12 Mexican American women with BN or BED who participated in the intervention. Data were analyzed with the grounded theory methodology (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Three themes emerged from the data: (a) eating behavior and body ideals are socially and culturally constructed, (b) multifaceted support system is crucial to Mexican American women’s treatment engagement and success, and (c) the culturally adapted CBTgsh program is feasible and relevant to Mexican American women’s experience, but it can be strengthened with increased family and peer involvement. The findings provide suggestions for further adaptation and refinement of the CBTgsh, and implications for future research as well as early intervention for disordered eating in organized care settings.

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