Professor Tracey Wade
Professor Tracey Wade

Professor Tracey Wade

Eating Disorder Research

‘Expanding the reach and delivery of Media Smart-Targeted: An online intervention found to both reduce eating disorder onset and increase eating disorder remission’

Flinders University, SA
Awarded 2019

“Eating disorders are a severe mental health condition, sharing equal highest mortality rate with substance abuse disorders.”

Past Mental Health Research Grants

Researcher Profile

Professor Tracey Wade has been a clinician and researcher in eating disorders for 30 years. She was awarded the Australian Psychological Society Early Career Award in 2003, in 2015 she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, in 2016 she was made an Inaugural Honorary Fellow of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy, in 2017-18 she was the president of the Eating Disorder Research Society, in 2018 she was appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel, Million Minds, a Federal mental health research mission.

She has over 190 publications in peer reviewed journals.

Project Summary

Media Smart – Targeted (MST) is a 9-session online program that was developed to reduce eating disorder risk in body dissatisfied women aged 18 to 25. The first trial of MST produced very exciting results compared to a group who did not get the program:

  • It reduced eating disorder onset by 66% in those without an eating disorder at the start of the program
  • It increased recovery rates by 75% in those with an eating disorder at the start of the program relative at 12-month follow-up
  • It lowered six factors that increase risk for eating disorder development, thereby protecting those most vulnerable
  • It reduced the onset of depressive symptoms by 10-fold relative at 6- and 12-month follow-up
  • It prevented any MS-T participants from experimenting with recreational drugs compared to 18.2% of people who did not get the program
  • it reduced the likelihood of developing high-suicidality by 54%.

A new Australia-wide trial will advance this very promising research by adding three new components, where we will:

  1. Include males and females aged 13 to 25,
  2. Add further content to address social media pressures on body image concerns and eating disorder risk
  3. Compare 2 versions of MST: weekly release of sessions vs individual chooses own rate of completing sessions to see if one works better than another.

Co-Investigators: Dr Simon Wilksch

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