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App-based food-specific inhibitory control training as an adjunct to treatment as usual in binge-type eating disorders: a feasibility trial

Keeler, Johanna Louise, Chami, Rayane, Cardi, Valentina, Hodsoll, John, Bonin, Eva ORCID: 0000-0001-9123-9217, MacDonald, Pamela, Treasure, Janet and Lawrence, Natalia (2022) App-based food-specific inhibitory control training as an adjunct to treatment as usual in binge-type eating disorders: a feasibility trial. Appetite, 168. ISSN 0195-6663

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105788


Current treatments for binge eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN) only show moderate efficacy, warranting the need for novel interventions. Impairments in food-related inhibitory control contribute to BED/BN and could be targeted by food-specific inhibitory control training (ICT). The aim of this study was to establish the feasibility and acceptability of augmenting treatment for individuals with BN/BED with an ICT app (FoodT), which targets motor inhibition to food stimuli using a go/no-go paradigm. Eighty patients with BED/BN receiving psychological and/or pharmacological treatment were randomly allocated to a treatment-as-usual group (TAU; n = 40) or TAU augmented with the 5-min FoodT app daily (n = 40) for 4 weeks. This mixed-methods study assessed feasibility outcomes, effect sizes of clinical change, and acceptability using self-report measures. Pre-registered cut-offs for recruitment, retention, and adherence were met, with 100% of the targeted sample size (n = 80) recruited within 12 months, 85% of participants retained at 4 weeks, and 80% of the FoodT + TAU group completing ≤8 sessions. The reduction in binge eating did not differ between groups. However, moderate reductions in secondary outcomes (eating disorder psychopathology: SES = −0.57, 95% CI [-1.12, −0.03]; valuation of high energy-dense foods: SES = −0.61, 95% CI [-0.87, −0.05]) were found in the FoodT group compared to TAU. Furthermore, small greater reductions in food addiction (SES = −0.46, 95% CI [-1.14, 0.22]) and lack of premeditation (SES = −0.42, 95% CI [-0.77, −0.07]) were found in the FoodT group when compared to TAU. The focus groups revealed acceptability of FoodT. Participants discussed personal barriers (e.g. distractions) and suggested changes to the app (e.g. adding a meditation exercise). Augmenting treatment for BED/BN with a food-specific ICT app is feasible, acceptable, and may reduce clinical symptomatology with high reach and wide dissemination.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2022 17:51
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 22:12

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