Motivation to recover for adolescent and adult eating disorder patients in residential treatment

By Craig Johnson, PhD, CEDS, FAED
Research article background

Manwaring J., Blalock D. V., Le Grange D., Duffy A., McClanahan S. F., Johnson C., Mehler P. S., Plotkin M., & Rienecke R. D. (2021). Motivation to recover for adolescent and adult eating disorder patients in residential treatment. European Eating Disorders Review 29 622-633.


The Eating Recovery Center Research Team, including Jamie Manwaring, Daniel Le Grange, Dan V. Blalock, Philip S. Mehler, Craig Johnson, Jamie Manwaring, Alan Duffy, Susan McClanahan, Millie Plotkin and Renee D. Rienecke, assessed how baseline motivation to recover impacts eating disorder (ED) and comorbid symptoms at end-of-treatment (EOT) for adolescents and adults in inpatient/residential treatment.. Learn more about our research team here.


This study aimed to assess how baseline motivation to recover impacts eating disorder (ED) and comorbid symptoms at end-of-treatment (EOT) for adolescents and adults in inpatient/residential treatment.


Two hundred and three adolescent (M = 15.90) and 395 adult (M = 25.45) patients with a Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 5th edition ED diagnosis completed the Decisional Balance Scale (DBS) at baseline, and psychosocial measures (ED symptoms, anxiety, depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder symptoms), and %body mass index (kg/m2; BMI) or median %BMI (for adolescents) at baseline and EOT.


The DBS Avoidance Coping and Burdens subscales at baseline were significantly lower for adolescents than adults (p < 0.001), whereas the DBS Benefits subscale at baseline did not significantly differ between subsamples (p = 0.06). Motivation to recover via DBS subscales was a more reliable predictor of EOT outcomes for both ED and comorbid psychopathology in adults (significant predictor in 19 of 54 total analyses, and 4 significant associations post-Bonferroni correction) than adolescents (significant predictor in 5 of 54 total analyses, and 1 significant association post-Bonferroni correction).


Baseline motivation to recover may be an important predictor of outcome for adult patients in inpatient/residential treatment but does not appear associated with outcomes for adolescent patients.

Read the full study here:

Written by

Craig Johnson, PhD, CEDS, FAED

Dr. Johnson has been a leader in the field of Eating Disorders for over 40 years. Currently he is a Senior Consultant at ERC, where he previously held the positions of Chief Clinical Officer, Chief…
Written by

Jamie Manwaring, PhD

Dr. Manwaring earned her doctorate in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she published peer-reviewed research in the field of eating and weight disorders. Since joining Eating…
Written by

Dan V. Blalock, PhD

Dan Blalock is a health services researcher in the Health Services Research & Development Center of Innovation at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Assistant Consulting Professor in the…
Written by

Daniel Le Grange, PhD, FAED

Daniel Le Grange, PhD, holds a Distinguished Professorship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he is Benioff UCSF Professor in Children’s Health in the Department of…
Written by

Alan Duffy, MS

Alan Duffy is Patient Experience & Research Manager at Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center in Denver, Colorado and a trained professional who specializes in the…
Written by

Susan McClanahan, PhD, CEDS

Susan McClanahan, Ph.D., CEDS is the current Chairman of the ERC Pathlight Advisory Board and the Founder of Pathlight Behavioral Health Centers. Dr. McClanahan is a licensed clinical psychologist…
Written by

Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Dr. Philip Mehler, prior to joining Eating Recovery Center, served as the Medical Director of Denver Health and Hospital Authority a position he held up until his retirement in 2014. Dr. Mehler began…
Written by

Millie Plotkin, MLS

Millie Plotkin, MLS, is Informationist for Eating Recovery Center, and creator of the Eating Disorders Information Gateway. After earning her Masters of Library Science from Catholic University in…
Written by

Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED

Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED, is a clinical psychologist and Director of Research for Eating Recovery Center/Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Centers and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of…

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