The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for eating disorders on quality of life: A meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • Meta-analyses have documented the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for reducing symptoms of eating disorders. However, it is not known whether CBT for eating disorders can also improve quality of life (QoL). This meta-analysis therefore examined the effects of CBT for eating disorders on subjective QoL and health-related quality of life (QoL).Studies that assessed QoL before and after CBT for eating disorders were searched in the PsycInfo and Medline database. Thirty-four articles met inclusion criteria. Pooled within and between-groups Hedge's g were calculated at post-treatment and follow-up for treatment changes on both subjective and HRQoL using a random effects model.CBT led to significant and modest improvements in subjective QoL and HRQoL from pre to post-treatment and follow-up. CBT led to greater subjective QoL improvements than inactive (i.e., wait-list) and active (i.e., a combination of bona fide therapies, psychoeducation) comparisons. CBT also led to greater HRQoL improvements than inactive, but not active, comparisons. Prepost QoL improvements were larger in studies that delivered CBT individually and by a therapist or according to the cognitive maintenance model of eating disorders (CBT-BN or CBT-E); though this was not replicated at follow-up CONCLUSIONS: Findings provide preliminary evidence that CBT for eating disorders is associated with modest improvements in QOL, and that CBT may be associated with greater improvements in QOL relative to comparison conditions.

publication date

  • 2017