Effectiveness of therapeutic conversation intervention among caregivers of people with eating disorders: quasi-experimental design

Margret Gisladottir*, Janet Treasure, Erla Kolbrun Svavarsdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic conversation intervention in group and caregiver sessions on the supporting role of caregivers. Background: Caregivers of people with eating disorders are known to suffer major difficulties and are in great need of support. Unhelpful parental support strategies can delay the recovery of an individual with an eating disorder. Skill training interventions can equip parents with skills, guidance and techniques by helping them to be a support person and making them one of the most important links in the treatment process. Design: The therapeutic conversation intervention consisted of five group and caregiver sessions and three booster sessions. The Calgary Family Assessment and Calgary Family Intervention Models, the Illness Beliefs Model and the New Maudsley Method were used as theoretical frameworks. The content of the intervention consisted of work on difficult behaviours, feelings and helpful strategies. The participants (n = 58) included primary and secondary caregivers of 12- to 24-year-old patients with eating disorders. Eight caregivers dropped out of treatment. Methods: This study had a quasi-experimental design with one pre- and two post-test measures. Results: Between 90–96% of caregivers rated the therapeutic conversation intervention as supportive. Furthermore, the study revealed significant differences in caregiver emotional and cognitive support, illness beliefs, disruptive behaviour and quality of life, negative aspects of care giving demands and caregiver and patient behavioural difficulties after the intervention and/or at follow-up. Conclusions: Therapeutic conversation intervention with caregivers in group and private sessions proved to be beneficial. Relevance to clinical practice: This outcome provides information for healthcare professionals on how they can help primary caregivers in their supporting role, which can, in turn, improve services in healthcare centres and psychiatric hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-750
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Other keywords

  • caregiver groups
  • caregiver sessions
  • caregivers
  • eating disorders
  • support
  • therapeutic conversation intervention


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