Spirituality is better than cognitive/emotional support for eating disorders.

Spiritual interventions are rarely used in contemporary treatment programs and little empirical evidence is available concerning their effectiveness.  

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a spiritual group intervention for eating disorder inpatients.  

We compared the effectiveness of a Spirituality group with Cognitive and Emotional Support groups using a randomized, control group design.

Participants were 122 women receiving inpatient eating disorder treatment.

Patients in the Spirituality group tended to score significantly lower on psychological disturbance and eating disorder symptoms at the conclusion of treatment compared to patients in the other groups, and higher on spiritual well-being.

On weekly outcome measures, patients in the Spirituality group improved significantly more quickly during the first four weeks of treatment.

This study provides preliminary evidence that attending to eating disorder patients’ spiritual growth and well-being during inpatient treatment may help reduce depression and anxiety, relationship distress, social role conflict, and eating disorder symptoms.

Reference; P. Scott Richards;  Michael E. Berrett;  Randy K. Hardman;
Dennis L. Eggett. Comparative Efficacy of Spirituality Cognitive and Emotional Support Groups for Treating Eating Disorder Inpatients. Eating Disorders, Volume 14, Issue 5 October 2006, pages 401 – 415

Bloggers comments; An example of Spirituality based eating disorder groups is Overeaters Anonymous.

Twelve Step Facilitation training is available at; BriefTSF.com


2 thoughts on “Spirituality is better than cognitive/emotional support for eating disorders.

  1. Thanks John,
    Jesus is so essential to many people. For me I have a connection with a Higher Power that I call God. Such a relationship with a Higher Power is necessary for me in finding my true spirit or natural spirit.

    I do find my spiritual guidance where ever I can including the Bible. For example II Tomothy 1:7 was very important in giving me hope – “For God gave me not a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love amd of sound mind”. This is my natural spirit – God given.

    The process of doing the program, the 12-Steps, meetings, sponsor, sharing etc, has restored my natural spirit.

    Was it the same or different for you?

  2. You are right on the money here. I would only add that it need be spirituality not in the abstract, but in relationship with God. For me, it has been a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and the people Christ leads me to to share in my faith journey.


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