From Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to Ecological Momentary Intervention (EMI): Past and Future Directions for Ambulatory Assessment and Interventions in Eating Disorders
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Purpose of Review
Ambulatory assessment methods, including ecological momentary assessment (EMA), have often been used in eating disorders (EDs) to assess the type, frequency, and temporal sequencing of ED symptoms occurring in naturalistic environments. Relatedly, growing research in EDs has explored the utility of ecological momentary interventions (EMIs) to target ED symptoms. The aims of the present review were to (1) synthesize recent literature pertaining to ambulatory assessment/EMA and EMI in EDs, and (2) identify relevant limitations and future directions in these domains.
With respect to ambulatory assessment and EMA, there has been substantial growth in the expansion of constructs assessed with EMA, the exploration of state- vs. trait-level processes, integration of objective and passive assessment approaches, and consideration of methodological issues. The EMI literature in EDs also continues to grow, though most of the recent research focuses on mobile health (mHealth) technologies with relatively minimal EMI components that adapt to momentary contextual information.
Despite these encouraging advances, there remain several promising areas of ambulatory assessment research and clinical applications in EDs going forward. These include integration of passive data collection, use of EMA in treatment evaluation and design, evaluation of dynamic system processes, inclusion of diverse samples, and development and evaluation of adaptive, tailored EMIs such as just-in-time adaptive interventions. While much remains to be learned in each of these domains, the continual growth in mobile technology has potential to facilitate and refine our understanding of the nature of ED psychopathology and ultimately improve intervention approaches.
KeywordsEating disorders Ambulatory assessment Ecological momentary assessment mHealth Ecological momentary intervention
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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