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  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Shortening Duration of Untreated Illness in First Episode Eating Disorders: A Randomised Controlled Feasibility Trial of a Smart-Phone Friendly Multi-Modal Decision Making Tool (FREED-Mobile; FREED-M) to Improve Help-Seeking



  • Contact name

    Ulrike Schmidt

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    King's College London

  • ISRCTN Number


  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 3 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    Early intervention (getting help quickly when a problem starts) gives young people the best chance to recover from eating disorders (EDs). An important focus of early intervention is to shorten the time between a person first developing symptoms and starting treatment (duration of untreated eating disorder; DUED). DUED has several parts. Some are patient-related (e.g., not knowing there is a problem, not asking for help) and others are services-related (e.g., waiting lists). We have previously shown that service-related delays can successfully be overcome by changing the way services are run (using a novel first episode rapid early intervention service for EDs, known as FREED). We now want to tackle the help-seeking component of DUED.

    The aim of this study is to develop and test a smartphone-friendly, online intervention for young people, who have recently developed an eating disorder, called FREED-Mobile (First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for EDs–Mobile; FREED-M). This study takes place online only, and the intervention aims to increase young people’s understanding of their illness and to raise their motivation to seek treatment. It will do this by giving them information about EDs, personalised feedback on their symptoms, and practical steps on how to seek help.

    Inclusion criteria: people aged 16 to 25, scoring ≥ 2 on the SCOFF, a screening instrument for eating disorders, living in England. Exclusion criteria: people with previous or current specialist eating disorder treatment, people who cannot understand spoken or written English, or who do not have access to the internet.

    Participants will be randomly allocated to either FREED-M intervention or sign-posted to the resources on EDs charity website. Outcomes will be measured at baseline (week 0), post-intervention (week 4) and follow-up (week 12).

  • REC name

    London - Camden & Kings Cross Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    13 Oct 2022

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion

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