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
“Eating disorders are a severe mental health condition, sharing equal highest mortality rate with substance abuse disorders.”
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.
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:
- Include males and females aged 13 to 25,
- Add further content to address social media pressures on body image concerns and eating disorder risk
- 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