Problematic Eating Interventions in Out-of-Home Care: The Need for a Trauma-Informed, Attachment-Focused Approach

Melissa Savaglio, Heidi Bergmeier, Rachael Green, Renee O’Donnell, Bengianni Pizzirani, Lauren Bruce, Helen Skouteris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Problematic eating interventions targeting young people living in out-of-home care (OoHC) have been neglected. Therefore, the aim of this narrative literature review was threefold: (1) to identify the state of the literature regarding interventions that address subclinical and clinical problematic eating behaviours among young people in OoHC; (2) to evaluate problematic eating interventions that have been developed for young people in the general population; and (3) to assess the extent to which these general interventions can be translated and implemented for young people in OoHC. This study found no interventions specifically designed for young people in OoHC. While there is the potential for current problematic eating interventions to be translated for this cohort, major adaptions are required in which both trauma-informed and attachment-focused perspectives are seen as central factors to problematic eating interventions in OoHC. IMPLICATIONS There are significant practical and theoretical limitations of administering current problematic eating interventions to young people living in OoHC. Interventions combining the theoretical underpinnings of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mentalisation-Based Therapy for Eating Disorders may begin to address the risk factors for problematic eating among young people in OoHC. A trauma-informed, attachment-focused problematic eating intervention is needed for young people in OoHC.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Social Work
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Aug 2019


  • Attachment
  • Eating Disorders
  • Intervention
  • Out-of-home Care
  • Trauma

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