ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0228.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Psychology Keywords: Early-Intervention; High-risk for Eating Disorders; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; Gamification; Digital Intervention; Vicarious learning
Online: 18 February 2022 (09:12:15 CET)
Eating Disorders (ED) constitute a serious public health issue affecting predominantly women and appearing typically in adolescence or early adulthood. EDs are extremely difficult to treat as these disorders are ego-syntonic and many patients do not seek treatment. It is vital to focus on the development of successful early-intervention programs for individuals presenting at-risk and are on a trajectory towards developing EDs. This study is a randomized controlled trial evalu-ating an innovative digital gamified Acceptance and Commitment early-intervention program (AcceptME) for young females showing signs and symptoms of an ED and at high-risk for an ED. Participants (N=92; Mage=15.30 years, SD=2.15) received either AcceptME (N=62) or a waitlist control (N=30). Analyses indicated that the AcceptME program effectively reduced weight and shape concerns, with large effects when compared to waitlist controls. Most participants scored below the at-risk cut-off (WCS score<52) in the AcceptME at end-of-intervention (57.1%) com-pared to controls (7.1%) with odds of falling into the at-risk group being 14.5 times higher for participants in the control group. At follow-up, 72% of completers reported scores below the at-risk cut-off in the AcceptME group. The intervention also resulted in a decrease in ED symp-tomatology and increased body image flexibility. Overall, results suggest that the AcceptME program holds promise for early-intervention of young women at-risk for developing an ED.