Examining changes in binge-eating disorder network centrality and structure in patients treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy versus interpersonal psychotherapy

Lauren N. Forrest, Debra L. Franko, Heather Thompson-Brenner, Carlos M. Grilo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: A sizeable minority of patients with binge-eating disorder (BED) do not fully respond to evidence-based treatments. Evidence to guide refinements of treatments is needed. Conceptualizing BED as arising from a network of symptom-to-symptom interactions allows for identification of the most strongly connected symptoms, which could inform intervention targets. This study estimated networks of BED features at pretreatment and posttreatment to assess whether cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) differentially impacted the interrelationships of BED symptoms/features. Methods: Participants were 392 adults (83% women, 88% white) with BED who received CBT (n = 236) or IPT (n = 156) and assessed at pretreatment and posttreatment. Networks were estimated across timepoints and treatments. Expected influence (EI) was calculated; symptoms with the highest EI have the most strong and frequent associations with other symptoms. We also assessed whether the symptoms with the highest and lowest EI predicted posttreatment remission indicators. Results: In the CBT and IPT networks, shape concern, weight concern, and eating concern had the highest EI at pretreatment and posttreatment. EI significantly increased from pretreatment to posttreatment for some symptoms in CBT but did not change for any symptoms in IPT. Shape concern significantly and positively predicted BED remission indicators in CBT and IPT. Conclusions: CBT and IPT similarly impacted interrelations among BED features. Pretreatment EI predicted posttreatment remission indicators, indicating that pretreatment centrality could signal meaningful intervention targets. Clinical implications and avenues for future research are discussed including how personalized network analysis may advance the understanding of the clinical utility of centrality. Public Significance: Cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy for binge-eating disorder, which are two leading evidence-based treatments for binge-eating disorder that are quite different in their models and approaches, similarly impacted interrelations among binge-eating disorder symptoms. In addition, the most strongly interconnected symptom predicted indicators of remission. Studying the interrelations among symptoms may provide new insight on how treatments impact symptom relationships and inform intervention targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-955
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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