Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Weight-related Bullying (Online Treatment)


This study will perform a clinical trial with adolescent girls to pilot a new cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for weight-related bullying testing (1) feasibility, (2) acceptability, and (3) initial efficacy. The treatment will be conducted via audio/video telehealth.

Full Title of Study: “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Girls Who Experienced Weight-related Bullying (Online Telehealth Treatment Study)”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: N/A
    • Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: August 2022

Detailed Description

Youth with obesity are more likely to be bullied than healthy-weight peers and weight-related bullying is the most common form of bullying. Treating bullying during childhood could reduce immediate and long-term health consequences, but there are no established individual-level treatments for weight-related bullying despite recommendations that they could improve children's health. This study will develop and test a new treatment for adolescent girls (11-17 years old) who have experienced bullying due to weight. The treatment will address traumatic stress and potentially co-occurring or developing problems with unhealthy weight-control behaviors, disordered eating, and weight. The treatment will be conducted via audio/video telehealth to increase accessibility and is therefore available to anyone in the United States who meets eligibility criteria.


  • Behavioral: CBT for Weight Bullying
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy for weight-related bullying delivered by audio/video telehealth.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: CBT for Weight Bullying
    • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for children who have experienced weight-related bullying

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Stress
    • Time Frame: post (3 months)
    • Reductions in traumatic stress as measured by the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale (scores range from 0 to 65 with higher scores indicative of more traumatic stress)

Secondary Measures

  • Weight concerns
    • Time Frame: post (3 months)
    • Reductions in weight concerns as measured by the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (scores range from 0 to 6; higher scores are indicative of more concern)
  • Shape concerns
    • Time Frame: post (3 months)
    • Reductions in shape concerns as measured by the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (scores range from 0 to 6; higher scores are indicative of more concern)

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

To be included, adolescents must:

1. Be in the age range ≥11 years old and ≤17 years old;

2. Identify as female

3. Report experiencing weight-related bullying

4. Report current distress about weight-related bullying

5. Be otherwise-healthy youth (i.e., no uncontrolled or serious medical conditions);

6. Read, comprehend, and write English at a sufficient level to complete study-related materials;

7. Located in the United States and available for participation in the study for 3 months.

Exclusion Criteria

Prospective participants will be excluded if the adolescent:

1. Has a medical or psychiatric condition that would require hospitalization or intensive care (e.g., severe anorexia, neurological disorder, psychotic disorders, suicidality);

2. Has uncontrolled medical condition(s) (e.g., uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension);

3. Is pregnant or breastfeeding;

4. Is taking medication(s) or participating in treatment(s) that could influence weight or appetite;

5. Is engaged in concurrent treatments that focus on trauma-related stress;

6. Began taking hormonal contraceptives less than 3 months prior;

7. Has a developmental or cognitive disorder (e.g., autism spectrum disorder);

8. Has avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder; or

9. Is participating in another clinical research study.

Gender Eligibility: Female

Identifying as female

Minimum Age: 11 Years

Maximum Age: 17 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Yale University
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Janet A Lydecker, PhD, Principal Investigator, Yale University
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Janet A Lydecker, PhD, 2037374299,

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