NURTURE: Development and pilot testing of a novel parenting intervention for mothers with histories of an eating disorder

Cristin D. Runfola, Nancy L. Zucker, Ann Von Holle, Suzanne Mazzeo, Eric A. Hodges, Eliana M. Perrin, Margaret E. Bentley, T. Frances Ulman, Elizabeth R. Hoffman, Sarah Forsberg, Monica Ålgars, Stephanie Zerwas, Emily M. Pisetsky, Colie Taico, Rebecca A. Kuhns, Robert M. Hamer, Cynthia M. Bulik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective To describe the treatment development and pilot testing of a group parenting intervention, NURTURE (Networking, Uniting, and Reaching out To Upgrade Relationships and Eating), for mothers with histories of eating disorders. Method Based on focus group findings, extant research, and expert opinion, NURTURE was designed to be delivered weekly over 16 (1.5 h) sessions via an interactive web conferencing forum. It comprises four modules: (1) laying the foundation, (2) general parenting skills, (3) eating and feeding, and (4) breaking the cycle of risk. Pilot testing was conducted with three groups of 3-6 mothers (N = 13) who had children ages 0-3 years to determine feasibility (e.g., retention), acceptability (e.g., feedback questionnaire responses), and preliminary efficacy. Maternal satisfaction with NURTURE and changes in mother-child feeding relationship measures, maternal feeding style, maternal self-efficacy, and maternal psychopathology (eating disorder, depression, and anxiety symptoms) across three time points (baseline, post-treatment, 6-month follow-up) were examined. All outcomes were exploratory. Results The intervention was well tolerated with a 100% retention rate. Feedback from mothers was generally positive and indicated that the groups provided an engaging, supportive experience to participants. We observed changes suggestive of improvement in self-reported maternal self-efficacy and competence with parenting. There were no notable changes in measures of maternal feeding style or psychopathology. Discussion NURTURE is a feasible, acceptable, and potentially valuable intervention for mothers with eating disorder histories. Results of this pilot will inform a larger randomized-controlled intervention to determine efficacy and impact on child outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • anorexia
  • bulimia
  • eating disorder
  • mother
  • parenting intervention


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