Emotion dysregulation is a transdiagnostic phenomenon in Eating Disorders (ED), and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) (which was developed for reducing dysregulated emotions in personality disorders) has been employed in patients with ED. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated whether the effect of DBT was stronger on emotion dysregulation, general psychopathology, and Body Mass Index (BMI) in participants with ED, when compared to a control group (active therapy and waitlist). Eleven studies were identified in a systematic search in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Most studies included participants with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) (n = 8), some with Bulimia Nervosa (BN) (n = 3), and only one with Anorexia Nervosa (AN). The pooled effect of DBT indicated a greater improvement in Emotion Regulation (ER) (g = -0.69, p = 0.01), depressive symptoms (g = -0.33, p < 0.00001), ED psychopathology (MD = -0.90, p = 0.005), Objective Binge Episodes (OBE) (MD = -0.27, p = 0.003), and BMI (MD = -1.93, p = 0.01) compared to the control group. No improvement was detected in eating ER following DBT (p = 0.41). DBT demonstrated greater efficacy compared with the control group in improving emotion dysregulation, ED psychopathology, and BMI in ED. The limitations included the small number of studies and high variability.
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