Group dialectical behavior therapy adapted for obese emotional eaters; a pilot study

M A Roosen, D Safer, S.N. Adler, A. Cebolla, T van Strien

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been shown to effectively target binge eating disorder (BED). This study pilots the effectiveness of group DBT for obese "emotional eaters" to reduce eating psychopathology and achieve weight maintenance. Thirty-five obese male and female emotional eaters receiving 20 group psychotherapy sessions of DBT adapted for emotional eating were assessed at end-of-treatment and 6 month follow-up for reductions in eating psychopathology and weight maintenance. DBT resulted in significant reductions in emotional eating and other markers of eating psychopathology at the end-of-treatment that were maintained at follow-up. The drop-out rate was very low, with only 1 participant dropping from treatment. Thirty-three (94%) of the sample provided data at every assessment point. Of these, 80% achieved either weight reduction or weight maintenance after treatment and throughout the follow-up period. The effect size for weight reduction was small. This pilot study demonstrates group DBT targeting emotional eating in the obese to be a highly acceptable and effective intervention for reducing eating related psychopathology at both at end-of-treatment and during follow-up. The ability of DBT to limit the upward trajectory of weight gain in obese patients with high degrees of emotional eating suggests that DBT may also help limit the increase or even prevent onset of obesity related morbidity in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-7
Number of pages7
JournalNutricion hospitalaria
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2012


  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Body Weight
  • Depression
  • Emotions
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychotherapy, Group
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Loss
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article


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