Research Findings

Our team of researchers, trainers and carer coaches have considerable experience of working with carers of people with eating disorders. Several past and more recent research studies have shown that skills training programmes, such as the New Maudsley Method have shown high carer acceptability (Treasure, et al., 2007b; Sepulveda, et al., 2008a; Sepulveda, et al., 2008b). In the DVD and manual iteration of the programme, delivered in a DVD/manual format, there were significant reductions in carer anxiety and depression, expressed emotion, burden of care and accommodation to eating disorder behaviours and unwitting enabling as well as significant increases in carer psychological wellbeing and self-efficacy. Carers also reported an improvement in the wellbeing and eating disorder behaviours of the sufferer (Goddard, et al., 2011). Results of qualitative studies have also shown high acceptability from both carers (Macdonald, et al., 2011) and patients (Goddard, et al., 2010).

Also, in a web based format carers mood was greatly improved (Grover, et al., 2011a; Grover, et al., 2011b). Patients themselves reported that they found it helpful that their carers/parents understood more about the thinking and emotional processes associated with an eating disorder.

Data from a full multi-centre RCT, Carers Assessment Skills and Information (CASIS) project, that tested the effectiveness of carer skills training for families of adult inpatients, was associated with reductions in carer time spent care giving, caregiver burden and unhelpful care giving behaviours (Hibbs, et al., 2015). Patients had reduced eating disorders psychopathology and improved quality of life at 6 months post discharge and a marginally improved trajectory at one year. The ECHO group had marginally reduced service use with shorter inpatient stays and a longer time before readmission. Qualitative data from the same study showed that patients could identify positive caregiver behaviour changes targeted in the intervention (Macdonald, et al., 2014). Data is currently being analysed for another multi-centre RCT that compares guided self-help and self-help to treatment as usual.