A chatbot could help prevent eating disorders, new study finds
A chatbot may help reduce the likelihood a person develops an eating disorder, according to a new study. For women at a high risk for an eating disorder, going through a dialogue with a bot developed by researchers reduced concern over body weight and shape — a factor that contributes to their risk.
Previous research showed that digital prevention programs are more effective when they’re guided by a human moderator, says study author Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. But it’s hard to get funding in the United States for programs that prevent mental health conditions. The team thought a chatbot could be a cheaper, more scaleable version of such a…