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Thesis Defence: Mobile App-Delivered Motivational Interviewing for Women on Eating Disorder Treatment Waitlists: Pilot and Feasibility Study

July 28, 2023 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Amané Halicki-Asakawa, supervised by Dr. Maya Libben, will defend their thesis titled “Mobile App-Delivered Motivational Interviewing for Women on Eating Disorder Treatment Waitlists: Pilot and Feasibility Study” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology.

An abstract for Amané Halicki-Asakawa’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.


Despite facing a myriad of adverse health outcomes such as high mortality rates and cardiovascular complications, women with eating disorders (EDs) are less likely to access mental health treatment compared to other clinical populations due to several barriers (e.g., long waitlists, scarcity of treatment centres, egosyntonicity of pathology). Notably, a significant increase in ED clinic waitlists has been observed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, widening existing treatment gaps. Given that delays in treatment have important clinical correlates (e.g., entrenchment of ED pathology), exploring new methods of mental health service delivery for this population is of critical concern. Mobile app-based motivational interviewing (MI) delivered prior to the start of treatment may be an effective way to improve accessibility by simultaneously addressing structural (e.g., travel costs) and individual (e.g., low motivation) barriers to care. Within the current multiphasic mixed-methods study, we created and tested MI-Coach: ED, a novel mobile app designed to increase motivation among women waitlisted for ED treatment. Phase I adapted the content and interface of an existing evidence-based mobile app (MI-Coach©) for an ED population. In Phase II, the mobile app was pilot tested with a sample of treatment-seeking women (n = 11) recruited from ED treatment clinic waitlists in British Columbia, Canada for a four-week period. Descriptive analyses of app use, pre- and post-test clinical characteristics, and thematic content analyses of semi-structured interviews conducted with a subset of participants (n = 8) indicated that most participants found the app acceptable, easy to use, and useful. Themes pertaining to previous experiences navigating treatment, the overall acceptability of the app, impacts of app use, and suggested modifications to the app were generated. Findings from this study support the use of MI-Coach: ED to deliver MI to individuals while waiting for formal treatment and highlight the potential of digital interventions to transform the delivery of ED services.


July 28, 2023
9:00 am - 12:00 pm


University Centre (UNC)
3272 University Way
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Room Number
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Health, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates