Acceptance and Efficacy of a Guided Internet Self-Help Treatment Program for Obese Patients with Binge Eating Disorder

Carrard Isabelle1, *, Crépin Christelle1, Rouget Patrick2, Lam Tony3, Van der Linden Martial4, Golay Alain1
1 Service of Therapeutic Education for Chronic Diseases, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
2 Service of Liaison psychiatry, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
3 Netunion, Lausanne, Switzerland
4 Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

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© Carrard et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Service of Therapeutic Education for Chronic Diseases, Department of Community Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals, Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, CH-1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland; Tel: +41.22.372.97.01; Fax: +41.22.372.97.10; E-mail:



A significant percentage of obese patients suffer from binge eating disorder (BED), with negative consequences on psychological health, quality of life, weight loss treatment and maintenance. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), delivered in traditional or self-help format, is effective in reducing BED symptoms. To improve dissemination, a self-help treatment program composed of eleven CBT based modules was implemented on the Internet and evaluated in a population of adult obese patients with BED.


Forty-two obese BED patients wait-listed for a multi-disciplinary obesity treatment took part in the study. Twenty-two patients completing the six-month online guided self-help treatment program were compared to a control group of twenty patients without intervention. Both groups were evaluated before and after six months of Internet self-help treatment or waiting list. A follow-up evaluation was carried out six months later.


Participants in the online self-help treatment program showed higher binge eating abstinence rates, lower EDE-Q shape and weight concerns, and improved TFEQ disinhibition of eating and hunger scores compared to the control group. They also scored better on psychological health and quality of life measures after intervention, and gains were maintained at follow-up. No effect was found regarding BMI. The number of modules completed was correlated with a better quality of life improvement at post evaluation. Participants rated the program as useful and easy to use.


The Internet seems to be a valuable tool for disseminating CBT for BED obese patients. Acceptance of new technology was good in this population. Further research is needed with a larger sample to corroborate these results.

Keywords: Internet, binge eating disorder, obesity, cognitive behavioral therapy, self-help treatment.