Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shift from traditional, in-person treatment to virtual treatment for eating disorders (EDs), with little knowledge about the relative efficacy of virtual formats. Method: In the current study, we examined baseline symptomatology and treatment outcomes of young adults in our virtual partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient program (PHP/IOP) for EDs, implemented shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigated outcomes on body mass index, ED symptoms, anxiety, ED-related clinical impairment, and emotion regulation. Results: We found significant differences in ED symptomatology, ED-related clinical impairment, and difficulties with emotion regulation at admission between participants in the virtual and in-person versions of our PHP/IOP. Despite these differences, the results demonstrated that the degree of change from admission to discharge on these measures was comparable for both conditions. Discussion: These findings suggest that PHPs and IOPs are relatively effective in a virtual format. Providing effective virtual options across various levels of care will improve access to specialized treatment for EDs. Public Significance: (i) Participants in the virtual program reported less severe symptomatology at baseline, (ii) Participants in the virtual and in-person programs experienced similar improvements, (iii) Virtual programs may be an effective option for young adults with eating disorders.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health