Early Versus Later Improvements in Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Use and Treatment Outcome in Eating Disorders

Tiffany A. Brown*, Anne Cusack, Leslie Anderson, Erin E. Reilly, Laura A. Berner, Christina E. Wierenga, Jason M. Lavender, Walter H. Kaye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has demonstrated initial efficacy for the treatment of eating disorders (EDs). However, no study has examined potential processes that may contribute to observed improvements in DBT for EDs. The present study sought to investigate changes in DBT skills use throughout treatment as a predictor of symptom change in a DBT-based partial hospital program (PHP) for adults with EDs. Adults [n = 135; M(SD) age = 25.08 (7.88)] with EDs completed self-report measures at treatment admission, one-month post-admission, and discharge from PHP. DBT skills use, as measured by the DBT Ways of Coping Checklist, increased by 12.65% from admission to one-month post-admission and increased by 24.10% from admission to discharge. Early (admission to month 1) and later (month 1 to discharge) improvements in DBT skills use predicted greater improvements in ED, depressive, and emotion dysregulation symptoms from treatment admission to discharge. Notably, early versus later change in skills use was a stronger predictor of outcome. Results are consistent with the theoretical model of DBT and add to a growing literature on DBT for EDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-768
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Eating disorders
  • Partial hospital program
  • Predictors
  • Skills use

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