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Projects

Current Projects

The CARE Project - Now Recruiting

Do you experience loss-of-control eating? We are looking for volunteers to participate in a study testing a new group treatment for loss-of-control or binge eating. The treatment groups will take place weekly at Drexel University and consist of 10 sessions over 3 months. We are also looking for people with loss-of-control eating to complete a 3-hour assessment of thinking style. You will be paid for participation. If you are interested, call (215) 553-7100 or e-mail careproject@drexel.edu.

Mind Your Health - Now Recruiting

Coordinator: Drew Frohn (aff34@drexel.edu; 215.553.7100)
This project is an NIH-funded randomized controlled trial designed to compare the gold standard behavioral treatment for obesity with a behavioral approach that incorporates acceptance-based principles drawn from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Marlatt's mindfulness-based relapse prevention, and especially Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Overweight participants are randomly assigned to group-based standard behavioral treatment (SBT) or acceptance-based behavioral treatment (ABT). The project has a special interest in real-time measurement of factors leading to dietary lapses throughout the day, and in the success of treatments in long-term weight maintenance.

Project ENACT - Now Recruiting

Coordinator: Samantha Siwulec (enactproject@drexel.edu; 215.553.7110)
This project is a five-year, NIH-funded randomized controlled trial (PI: Butryn) designed to test whether the gold-standard behavioral approach to weight loss can be improved by incorporating acceptance-based skills (e.g., mindfulness, commitment to behavior change) and modification of cues in the home environment. Over the course of the one-year intervention, participants attend weekly group-based sessions for 4 months, bi-weekly sessions for the next 2 months, and monthly sessions for the last 6 months. They then attend follow-up assessments at 6 and 12 months post-treatment. Analyses will test whether there are any differences in degree of weight loss maintenance over the follow-up period.

ACT for Eating Disorders

Coordinator: Adrienne Juarascio
This study sought to develop an ACT based treatment for eating disorders and examine the efficacy of an ACT treatment group by determining whether the addition of ACT groups to treatment as usual (TAU) at a residential treatment facility for eating disorders would improve treatment outcomes. Results indicated that individuals in the ACT condition trended towards lower levels of eating pathology at post-treatment and showed significantly greater reductions in bulimic symptoms, greater increases in food consumed in a test meal, and lower rates of inpatient treatment by follow-up. The main study analyses are currently under review for publication and additional papers based on the treatment manual and database are in progress.

Inhibitory Control Study

Coordinator: Lindsay Martin
The Inhibitory Control Study is using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to evaluate implicit and explicit training techniques aimed at reducing unwanted eating, which in turn is linked to obesity and its related medical consequences. Specifically, the study is evaluating the efficacy of 1) implicit inhibitory control training, 2) mindfulness and acceptance-based training, and 3) the combination of implicit inhibitory control training and mindfulness and acceptance-based training in reducing consumption of an unhealthy salty snack foods.

Project HELP

Coordinator: Lauren Bradley
We are currently planning an open trial of a group acceptance-based behavioral treatment targeting weight-regain after bariatric surgery. The purpose of this study is to establish this intervention's feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness.

Values vs. Goals for Cravings amongst Overweight Adults

Coordinator: Adrienne Juarascio
Although initial data suggest that values-based interventions may be useful, additional research is needed to clarify the role of values in treatment. In particular, assessing the efficacy of a values-based intervention for overweight individuals (compared to the more standard goals-based interventions) would help clarify whether a values component could improve weight loss treatment efficacy. The study will examine whether a values-based analog intervention can produce changes in eating behavior above and beyond a standard goals-based intervention in overweight adults. Interventions are currently being written and the study will hopefully begin in the spring.

Implicit Attitudes Study

Coordinator: Stephanie Goldstein
The Implicit Attitudes Study examines the discrepancy between implicit and explicit attitudes towards chocolate items. It is thought that this discrepancy between explicitly stated desire for chocolate and implicitly indicated desires for chocolate might be indicative of disinhibited eating (eating despite intentions not to). Furthermore, it is thought that mindfulness may interact with discrepancy to predict disinhibted eating (i.e., those who are more mindful in general, tend to partake in less disinhibited eating). Participants completed an hour-long assessment during which they were administered an Implicit Association Task (IAT), self report questionnaires, and completed a chocolate taste test.

Body-Related Acceptance Study

Coordinator: Alyssa Matteucci
This study is examining whether experiential avoidance mediates the relationship between body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating. It is hypothesized that those with high body image dissatisfaction and high experiential avoidance will show the most increases in disordered eating symptoms.

Acceptance-Based Skills for Physical Activity Promotion

Coordinators: Alyssa Matteucci and Greer Raggio
Current research in this area is evaluating the effectiveness of acceptance-based interventions for the promotion of physical activity as 1) a means of primary prevention of disease in young and middle-aged adults, and 2) a means of weight loss maintenance in successful dieters.

Breast Cancer Survivors Study

Coordinators: Greer Raggio
This study will examine sexual morbidity and mindfulness in survivors of breast cancer.

Past Projects

Coping Strategies to Manage Food Cravings and Eat Healthier

Our first study compared acceptance-based and traditional, "control"-based approaches to coping with cravings. Participants were taught one of two coping strategies and then asked to carry around transparent boxes of chocolates for 48 hours, but not to eat those chocolates or any others during the 48-hour period. Results indicated that the relative efficacy of the two approaches depended on individuals' sensitivity to the food environment (Forman, Hoffman, McGrath, Herbert, Brandsma & Lowe, 2007). More specifically, acceptance-based strategies were significantly superior in terms of both craving intensity and food consumption in those individuals who were the most sensitive to the food environment, whereas control-based strategies appeared to be advantageous for those who were less sensitive. The second study used a similar protocol, but participants were overweight women recruited from the community, the time frame was increased to 72 hours, and participants were asked to refrain from all sweets. Results generally echoed those of the first study.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Physical Activity Promotion

This project examined the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in promoting physical activity behaviors among individuals who were struggling to adhere to their physical activity goals. Results indicated that ACT was superior to an educational intervention at increasing objectively-measured frequency of physical activity in this population (Butryn, Forman, Hoffman, Shaw, & Juarascio, 2011).