Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

David M. Stein


David M. Stein


This present study examined the session-by-session content of group therapy for eating-disordered clients. The main objective of this study was to identify how therapist-client gender match affects group therapy process , regarding the disclosure of important issues relevant to eating-disordered clients. It was hypothesized that the group therapy process for eating-disordered clients would be qualitatively different if therapy was facilitated by a female as opposed to a male therapist. The evaluation of the research question required using an alternating treatments single-subject research design, in which the presentation of treatment conditions was counterbalanced across two therapy groups. The treatments consisted of three therapist conditions (i.e., male therapist only, female therapist-only, or both therapists) that were systematically presented during the study. All group-therapy sessions were videotaped and coded for verbal content. The results suggested that when a female therapist alone was leading group therapy sessions, eating-disordered clients were more inclined to discuss general emotional issues and specific issues involving negative affect. Furthermore, during the male therapist-only conditions, there was a tendency for female group members to talk more about the physical symptoms of eating disorders (i.e., food-related behaviors, body image issues). The relationship of these results regarding their practical implications on therapist knowledge, training, in-session behavior was discussed.



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