Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

School Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Margaret Beebe-Frankenberger

Commitee Members

Anisa Goforth, Trent Atkins, Shan Guisinger, Cheryl VanDenburg


adolescent eating disorders, dialectical behavior therapy, feasibility, mobile technology, school-based mental health, social validity


University of Montana


Child and adolescent mental health concerns are increasingly being addressed in school settings. However, little research exists to evaluate how use of evidence-based interventions in an educational setting impacts treatment efficacy. Common concerns facing female adolescents in the U.S. are eating disorders (ED) and body image disturbances. To date, no studies of ED treatment in a school setting have been published, although several prevention interventions have some empirical support. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive treatment approach with a growing evidence base for a variety of populations, including adolescents and patients with ED. This pilot study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of using school-based DBT skills groups for the treatment of adolescent ED and sub-diagnostic disordered eating symptoms. The intervention included 12 weeks of DBT skills groups in a school setting without the inclusion of individual treatment or parent involvement. Additionally, participants were given the opportunity to use mobile technology software in order to track DBT skill usage and target behaviors. Data was collected to evaluate not only the impact of the intervention on ED and other mental health symptoms, but also on the acceptability and feasibility of offering this type of intervention in a school setting. Results suggest that participation was associated with improvements in behavioral facets of ED and in both externalizing and internalizing symptoms and that use of mobile technology software facilitated data collection. Additionally, measures of social validity showed a strong positive relationship between anticipated benefits of participation and acceptability ratings at post-intervention. Implications for future research are discussed.



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