Randomized Controlled Trial of a Culturally-Adapted Program for Latinas With Binge Eating

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Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most prevalent eating disorder among Latinas. Furthermore, Latinas report more frequent binge eating and higher levels of associated mental health symptoms as compared with non-Latino White women. Research demonstrates that Latinas’ eating problems largely go undetected and untreated and that they face numerous barriers to seeking professional help. Cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT)-based guided self-help (CBTgsh) for binge eating is a more affordable and disseminable intervention than traditional CBT treatment. In this paper, we present the findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a culturally adapted CBTgsh program in a sample of overweight and obese Latinas with BED, the first RCT of this type with an ethnic minority population. Study participants (N = 40) diagnosed with BED were randomly assigned to the CBTgsh (n = 21) or waitlist (n = 19) condition. Treatment with the CBTgsh program resulted in significant reductions in frequency of binge eating, depression, and psychological distress and 47.6% of the intention-to-treat CBTgsh group were abstinent from binge eating at follow-up. In contrast, no significant changes were found from pre- to 12-week follow-up assessments for the waitlisted group. Results indicate that CBTgsh can be effective in addressing the needs of Latinas who binge eat and can lead to improvements in symptoms.

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