Rapid response predicts 12-month post-treatment outcomes in binge-eating disorder: Theoretical and clinical implications

C. M. Grilo, M. A. White, G. T. Wilson, R. Gueorguieva, R. M. Masheb

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41 Scopus citations


Background We examined rapid response in obese patients with binge-eating disorder (BED) in a clinical trial testing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral weight loss (BWL). Method Altogether, 90 participants were randomly assigned to CBT or BWL. Assessments were performed at baseline, throughout and post-treatment and at 6-and 12-month follow-ups. Rapid response, defined as ≥70% reduction in binge eating by week four, was determined by receiver operating characteristic curves and used to predict outcomes. Results Rapid response characterized 57% of participants (67% of CBT, 47% of BWL) and was unrelated to most baseline variables. Rapid response predicted greater improvements across outcomes but had different prognostic significance and distinct time courses for CBT versus BWL. Patients receiving CBT did comparably well regardless of rapid response in terms of reduced binge eating and eating disorder psychopathology but did not achieve weight loss. Among patients receiving BWL, those without rapid response failed to improve further. However, those with rapid response were significantly more likely to achieve binge-eating remission (62% v. 13%) and greater reductions in binge-eating frequency, eating disorder psychopathology and weight loss. Conclusions Rapid response to treatment in BED has prognostic significance through 12-month follow-up, provides evidence for treatment specificity and has clinical implications for stepped-care treatment models for BED. Rapid responders who receive BWL benefit in terms of both binge eating and short-term weight loss. Collectively, these findings suggest that BWL might be a candidate for initial intervention in stepped-care models with an evaluation of progress after 1 month to identify non-rapid responders who could be advised to consider a switch to a specialized treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-817
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Binge eating
  • cognitive behavior therapy
  • eating disorders
  • obesity
  • treatment
  • weight loss


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