We Can – A web-based intervention for carers of adults with anorexia

Posted 01/09/2017

What is the purpose of the research?

This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of a web-based skills package (‘We Can’) to support carers of individuals with anorexia nervosa, and to look at how different levels of support within the intervention may affect the results. We are interested in how the We Can skills package affects both the carer using the package, and also the person with anorexia whom they care for.

Who can take part?

Carers can take part if:

  • Aged 18+
  • Providing unpaid care for an adult (aged 16+) with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa
  • Fluent in English

Participants with anorexia can take part if:

  • Have a current diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, OR have been previously diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, and currently meet the criteria of another eating disorder with a restrictive component (e.g. EDNOS, OSFED, Atypical Anorexia, or Bulimia Nervosa)
  • Aged 16+
  • Fluent in English

Exclusion criteria:

Carers cannot take part if:

  • Caring for a person with an eating disorder other than anorexia, who has never been diagnosed with anorexia
  • Carer currently suffering from an eating disorder
  • Unable to read and understand English

Participants with anorexia cannot take part if:

  • Never having received a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa
  • Currently dependent on alcohol or drugs
  • Diagnosed with a current major psychological disorder, which would interfere with the participants’ ability to participate
  • Under the age of 16

What does the study involve?

Carers of adults with anorexia will be able to participate in an online skills programme, which they can access anywhere with an internet connection. Participation consists of;

  • Completion of 8 online interactive modules over a 12-week period
  • Access to an online chat forum with other carers
  • Completion of 4 sets of online questionnaires over a 12-month period

Carers will be randomly allocated to one of three conditions within the study, with all carers receiving access to the 8 modules and chat forum.

Adults with anorexia whose carers are participating in the programme will also have the opportunity to complete a set of 4 online questionnaires over a 12-month period. Please note: one of the questionnaires which these participants will be asked to complete includes a question about current weight.

How long does it take?

The total duration of the study is 12 months, with participants completing the 8 online modules over a 12-week period.

Where will the study take place?

All parts of this study will be conducted online. 

How can you take part?

If you are a carer of an adult with anorexia nervosa, you can participate by visiting the study website (https://icare-wecan.minddistrict.com/) and signing up for an account. When you have signed up for an account, you will be asked a few questions to check that you are eligible to participate. Once this is confirmed, you will be able to access the online modules.

If you are an adult with anorexia, and your carer is taking part in the study, you are also eligible to participate, by accessing the study website and creating an account.

Contact For further information, please contact: lucy.spencer@kcl.ac.uk