Binge and loss of control (LOC) eating affect a significant number of adolescents of all ethnicities and are associated with numerous psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and weight concerns. African American women appear to be particularly vulnerable to binge eating disorder, and LOC and binge eating are prevalent among African American girls. However, empirically validated culturally sensitive treatments for these disordered eating behaviors are not available. Thus, this R34 application aims to develop a manualized and culturally sensitive intervention (LIBER8-Linking Individuals Being Emotionally Real) for African American and White adolescent girls targeting binge and LOC eating. We will target the intervention to adolescents with either or both behaviors. This intervention will integrate components of dialectical behavior therapy tailored to adolescents who engage in binge and LOC eating, such as mindfulness and distress tolerance skills training, with a core of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). We will seamlessly integrate a key adolescent communication strategy, namely text-messaging, into therapeutic self-monitoring. We will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention in a controlled pilot trial. This study is designed explicitly to gather preliminary data to inform a subsequent larger randomized controlled trial. We hypothesize that this intervention will serve to reduce binge and LOC eating, as well as improve psychosocial functioning as evidenced by decreased depression, anxiety, eating disorder cognitions, and impulsivity, and improved quality of life.

Public Health Relevance

Many adolescents struggle with overeating (binge-eating). Adolescents with these eating problems are more likely than their peers to be depressed, anxious, and feel badly about their appearance. African American girls are especially at-risk for these eating problems. Effective treatments are urgently needed. This study will develop and evaluate an innovative intervention (LIBER8-Linking Individuals Being Emotionally Real) for ethnically diverse adolescent girls. This intervention will focus on teaching girls skills that help them reduce their problematic eating behaviors and improve their overall well-being.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Planning Grant (R34)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-N (04))
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Sherrill, Joel
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Virginia Commonwealth University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Mazzeo, Suzanne E; Lydecker, Janet; Harney, Megan et al. (2016) Development and preliminary effectiveness of an innovative treatment for binge eating in racially diverse adolescent girls. Eat Behav 22:199-205
Palmberg, Allison A; Stern, Marilyn; Kelly, Nichole R et al. (2014) Adolescent Girls and Their Mothers Talk About Experiences of Binge and Loss of Control Eating. J Child Fam Stud 23:1403-1416
Mazzeo, Suzanne E; Kelly, Nichole R; Stern, Marilyn et al. (2013) LIBER8 design and methods: an integrative intervention for loss of control eating among African American and White adolescent girls. Contemp Clin Trials 34:174-85