There are few well-established treatments for adolescent eating disorders, and for those that do exist, remission rates are reported to be between 30 and 40%. There is a need for the development and implementation of novel treatment approaches. Mindfulness approaches have shown improvements in eating disorder-related psychopathology in adults and have been suggested for adolescents. The present review identifies and summarizes studies that have used mindfulness approaches to modify eating behaviors and to treat eating disorders in adolescents. Focused searches were conducted in Embase, Medline, and PsycINFO, and identified articles were checked for relevance. A small number of studies (n = 15) were designated as appropriate for inclusion in the review. These studies were divided into those that focused on the promotion of healthy eating/the prevention of disordered eating (n = 5), those that concentrated on targeted prevention among high risk adolescents (n = 5), and those that focused on clinical eating disordered adolescents (n = 5). Thirteen of the 15 studies reviewed reported at least one positive association between mindfulness treatment techniques and reduced weight/shape concerns, dietary restraint, decreased body mass index (BMI), eating in the absence of hunger (EAH), binge eating, increased willingness to eat novel healthy foods, and reduced eating disorder psychopathology. In summary, incorporating mindfulness to modify eating behaviors in adolescent non-clinical and clinical samples is still in the early stages, with a lack of data showing clear evidence of acceptability and efficacy. Further studies and preferably controlled conditions are warranted.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited