Girls Growing in Wellness and Balance: Examining the efficacy of a parent program in eating disorder prevention
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The present study seeks of investigate the effectiveness of Girls Growing in Wellness and Balancea parent workshop program designed to reduce family risk factors that are associated with mental illness in general and eating disorders (ED) in particular. Eating disorders are a significant mental health concern for females in the Western society that are highly comorbid with medical problems, substance abuse, depression and suicide attempts. Success of prevention efforts to date has been mixed. In this study, a biopsychosocial approach is adopted to conceptualize eating disorders and the Maudsley method of ED treatment is utilized to create an evidence based prevention program. It was hypothesized that including parents in a prevention program will lead to greater reduction in eating disorder and anxiety symptomatology, than including children alone. Results indicate that while the child-only program resulted in a significant reduction of drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction, the parent component did not have a significant additional benefit in symptom reduction. Possible reasons for the findings and directions for future research in the area of ED prevention are discussed.