Women's Health Project

Women's Health Project

The specific aims of this project are to adapt a self-help program for Mexican American women with eating disorders and to test the effectiveness of this treatment on a small sample from the community.

Our past research has demonstrated that eating disorders, particularly those accompanied by binge eating such as Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN), do occur in Mexican American women and pose serious mental and physical health risks. Eating disorders are chronic and debilitating disorders associated with numerous physical and psychiatric problems such as diabetes, obesity, bone-mass loss, infertility, depression, and anxiety. These eating disorders largely go undetected and untreated.

Moreover, women of ethnic minority groups are the most likely to suffer from unmet mental health needs. Our recent research has demonstrated numerous barriers to seeking and receiving treatment for Mexican American women with eating disorders. Such findings point out the great need for treatment that is accessible to this population.

The current study will examine the effectiveness of guided self-help (GSH), as a minimal intervention or first step in the treatment of binge eating related problems. Guided self-help (GSH) is a low intensity intervention in which patients use a self-help manual with limited support and instruction from either a specialist or non-specialist in clinical or nonclinical settings. In this case, the intervention will take place through the use of telephone sessions and information provided online via a secure website. No studies to date have examined the use of GSH with ethnic minority women, who are seriously in need of accessible and low-cost treatment. Furthermore, research from related areas suggests that for an intervention to be (most) effective with diverse populations, cultural variables and cultural context need to be taken into consideration and incorporated into the intervention.

Findings from this study will contribute to advances in the treatment of BN, BED, and related binge eating problems, including obesity, for Mexican American women. The proposed project will provide an important step in developing effective and accessible treatment for ethnic minority individuals with eating disorders, who are largely neglected in treatment trials and are currently underrepresented in clinic populations.

To contribute to this project or for more information, contact the research offices at (323) 343-5018, or Diane Lewis, Project Supervisor at dlewis3@exchange.calstatela.edu

If you are a study participant, please click on the WHP Link to log into the secure site.

Note: You need to have a valid userid and password to access the secure site. Please contact Diane Lewis, Project Supervisor at dlewis3@exchange.calstatela.edu