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The focus of our research is on the nature and treatment of eating disorders, and on developing methods to facilitate the dissemination of effective psychological interventions. CREDO is funded by a Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust.

The Centre for Research on Eating Disorders at Oxford (CREDO) has been in existence since 1981. For its first three years it was funded by the Medical Research Council, but since 1984 it has been funded by the Wellcome Trust.

CREDO has been responsible for the development and evaluation of many of the leading treatments for adults with eating disorders:

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy for bulimia nervosa (CBT-BN)
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa (IPT-BN)
  • Transdiagnostic CBT for eating disorders (CBT-E)
  • Cognitive behavioural self-help for eating disorders (guided and unguided).

In addition, CREDO has developed some of the most widely used measures of eating disorder features and their secondary effects:

  • Eating Disorder Examination interview (EDE)
  • Eating Disorder Examination questionnaire (EDE-Q)
  • Clinical Impairment Assessment questionnaire (CIA)

CREDO has also conducted major studies of the development and course of the eating disorders.

CREDO is engaged in three main lines of research:

  1. The evaluation of transdiagnostic approaches to the treatment of eating disorders, specifically CBT-E and transdiagnostic IPT.
  2. The development and evaluation of scalable and cost-effective methods for training therapists in complex psychological treatments (such as transdiagnostic CBT for eating disorders, CBT-E).
  3. The development and evaluation of a direct-to-user form of CBT-E delivered via the internet (CBTe).

CREDO has a research website - - which describes its work in more detail.


CREDO collaborators

Elizabeth Allen 
Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Susan Byrne

Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Western Australia

Riccardo Dalle Grave

Director, Department of Eating and Weight Disorders, Villa Garda Hospital, Garda, Italy

Steven Hollon

Professor of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

Christopher Martell

Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Marion Olmsted

Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

Vikram Patel

Professor of International Mental Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Ray Rosen

New England Research Institutes, Boston

Josef Ruzek

Director, Dissemination and Training Division, National Center for PTSD, VA, Menlo Park

Tiffany Stewart

Associate Professor of Psychology, Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, Baton Rouge

G Terence Wilson

Professor of Psychology, Rutgers

Disseminating Complex Psychological Treatments

CREDO has developed a new form of training, termed “web-centred training”, that is designed to be both scalable and effective.  It is capable of training large numbers of therapists simultaneously.  The training centres on the use of a specially designed training website that describes and illustrates the treatment in great detail and incorporates features to help trainees grasp key concepts and master the main procedures.  Web-centred training may be used on its own (independent training) or it can be accompanied by support from a non-specialist “guide” (guided training).  Even with guidance web-centred training is highly scalable.  

CREDO has developed two therapist training websites for use in this way, one for CBT-E and the other for behavioural activation for depression (BA).  The latter website has been developed in close collaboration with Professor Christopher Martell.  Both websites are interactive in nature and include an extensive “library” of acted illustrations of the treatment, something that is impossible to provide in conventional workshops.  

Web-centred training is currently being evaluated.  Three studies have been completed or are in progress.  The first consisted on a large-scale pilot study across Ireland.  This focused on the effectiveness of guided web-centred training.  The second was a randomised controlled comparison of guided and independent web-centred training.  The third study is ongoing.  It is a cohort study of web-centred training in either CBT-E or behavioural activation for depression.  For more information visit  

Further Reading

Fairburn CG, Patel V. The global dissemination of psychological treatments: A road map for research and practice. American Journal of Psychiatry 2014; 171: 495-498.

eTherapy for Eating Disorders (CBTe)

The existence of the internet has opened up novel ways of delivering health care (eHealth), one of which is providing psychological treatments online (eTherapy).  eTherapy is new and it has only recently become the focus of research.  Its use as a means of providing treatment for depression and anxiety disorders is receiving considerable attention, but there has been much less research on its application to eating disorders. 

At CREDO we are developing an online form of CBT-E, termed CBTe.  It is designed to be delivered direct to those with an eating problem (via search engines) and will be cost-free.  It will not require external support and so will be extremely scalable.  It is intended for two particular groups; those in the early stages of an eating disorder and those with an established eating disorder who would like help but are unable to access it.  

CBTe is being designed to be highly personalised and engaging.  It will match the eating problem of the user and it will adapt itself to his or her progress.

Further Reading

Fairburn CG, Murphy R. Treating eating disorders using the internet. Current Opinion in Psychiatry 2015; 28: 461-467.

Related research themes