The goal of EBT is to solve problems as quickly and easily as possible – and for these improvements to be lasting.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco, Weill-Cornell Medical College, San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Kentucky have studied the effectiveness of the method.
What follows is a summary of EBT research that relates to each of the benefits of EBT.
Reduce Stress A study of short-term EBT was conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky where EBT showed significant reductions in perceived stress and the control group whose participants received mindfulness training showed no significant improvement in perceived stress (Webber, 2016). A study of participants in a seven-week EBT group in Maryland showed significant improvements in stress and stress- related emotions (Mellin, 2012).
Change Behavior The brief, intensive behavioral plan used in EBT (“3-Day Vibrancy Plan”) integrated the program’s stress tools and lifestyle program to provide an intensive three-day “jumpstart” to changing behavior. The drive to overeat and vibrancy improves. Participants lost an average of 2.8 pounds (range 1 to 8 pounds). Changes in a broad range of behaviors, including exercise, eating, smoking, substance use and work productivity have also shown improvements (see citations below).
Solve Problems Researchers have examined the effectiveness of EBT in solving a broad range of problems. As stress impacts every organ system in deleterious ways, alleviating stress and promoting positive emotions would be expected to produce changes in a range of symptoms. A two-year follow-up of a study conducted with employees and health workers at UCSF found significant improvements in problems that were sustained.
Create Joy Joy is the emotion associated with neural integrations and a high emotional set point. Completing the advanced courses in EBT has shown lasting improvements in health and happiness. A “set point” study compared stress levels of participants and program graduates showing a set point improvement in program graduates.
This research is promising,however, our goal is to continually evaluate and improve the EBT program to draw upon cutting-edge research to make solving problems and promoting well-being easier to achieve and longer lasting.
More About Effectiveness
EBT vs. Mindfulness (University of Kentucky) – EBT was compared to mindfulness program (n=33). The EBT group alone decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, perceived stress, and symptoms of food addiction at post treatment (7 weeks), and only EBT sustained improvements in body mass index at 14 weeks, whereas no significant changes were sustained in the mindfulness group (Webber, et al., accepted for publication Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Accepted 2016. In Press).
EBT vs. Behavioral Therapy (University of Kentucky) – EBT was compared to a behavioral program (n=49), with both programs producing significant changes at post- treatment (10 weeks), but only EBT showing sustained improvements (20 weeks) in body mass index, blood pressure, depression, perceived stress and quality of life, whereas improvements in the behavioral group were only sustained for BMI and depression (Webber, et al., 2015).
EBT Public Health Study (UCSF and Maryland State Department of Health) – EBT was compared to a wait-list control group (n = 33), with significant improvements in the treatment group in perceived stress, depression, positive affect, negative affect, self- efficacy, food dependence and BMI at post-treatment (7 weeks) (Mellin, 2013).
San Francisco Community Study (UCSF) – A follow-up study of EBT participants in the UCSF community (staff, faculty, neighborhood) (n=22) showed significant improvements at follow-up (24 months) for blood pressure, weight and exercise, with reported improvements in mood (91%), relationships (86%) and work coping (86%) (Mellin, Croughan, & Dickey, 1997).
Smoking Study (UCSF VA) – A randomized smoking cessation trial of veterans (n=244) studied a range of strategies with the EBT tools showing the highest use over time for successful quitters (Simon, Duncan et al., 2009).
Adolescents (UCSF) – A controlled clinical trial of adolescents (n=66) in Northern California showed significant improvements in depression, self-esteem, behavior and weight at post-treatment (3 months) and follow-up (15 months) (Mellin, Slinkard, & Irwin, 1987).
Pregnant Women (UCSF) – A feasibility study of EBT and mindfulness (n=48) in low- income pregnant urban women showed significant improvements at 8 weeks for stress and depression for both conditions. EBT showed significant improvement in positive reappraisal, and attendance and retention were higher in the EBT group (Laraia, et al., manuscript submitted for publication).
EBT Survey – A 2014 survey of participants conducted by The Solution Foundation, 78% of respondents reported they would be “very disappointed” if they could not use EBT. Enrollment data showed that 74% of participants who completed the basic eight-week telegroup continued their membership, with a mean length of membership for continuers of 12 months (TSF, unpublished report).
Medical Students (UCSF) – In a survey of students who participated in an EBT elective, 100% agreed or strongly agreed that “there is a need for this work,” and they were “better able to deal with stress in my life” (Igor Mitrovic, MD, unpublished survey).