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

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

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
and password to access the secure site. Please contact
Diane Lewis, Project Supervisor at