Illness perception and its relationship to readiness to change in the eating disorders: a preliminary investigation.
Stockford K., Turner H., Cooper M.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the psychometric properties of a modified version of the Illness Perception Questionnaire - Revised (IPQ-R) in individuals with eating disorders. The relationship between illness representations and stage of change was then explored. Design and method. A cross-sectional design was employed and participants were asked to complete a set of questionnaires. A subset of participants completed the IPQ-R again after 2 weeks in order to assess test-retest reliability. The relationship between illness representations and stage of change was explored using hierarchical multiple regression analyses. RESULTS: Sixty-nine participants with a clinical eating disorder took part in the study. With the exception of the causal subscales, the modified version of the IPQ-R had good internal validity and good test-retest reliability. Consequences, treatment control and personal control as well as cyclical timeline perceptions accounted for a significant and unique amount of variance in readiness to change stage scores. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that this modified version of the IPQ-R provides a reliable means of exploring illness representations in individuals with eating disorders. Given the significant relationships between illness representations and stage of change, it may be helpful to consider these aspects of illness representations when carrying out therapeutic work with this clinical population. Further research might usefully investigate the relationship between illness perceptions and clinical outcome, as well as examine what factors are important in the shift between stages of change in a longitudinal design.