The empirical status of cue exposure and response prevention treatment for binge eating: a systematic review

Natasha R. Magson*, Charlotte M. Handford, Melissa M. Norberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Approximately 50% of individuals fail to obtain treatment benefits when undergoing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for binge-eating behaviors, making it necessary to evaluate additional approaches. Cue exposure and response prevention (CERP) is one such approach, although its effectiveness across studies has been inconsistent. This may be due to inconsistent implementation of theoretically based CERP strategies. This possibility has not yet been systematically investigated. To address this gap, this review investigated which CERP strategies have been incorporated into treatment protocols for binge eating, and if the use of certain strategies improves treatment effectiveness. Relevant studies were identified through reference lists, grey literature, and searches of electronic databases using multiple search terms related to CERP and binge eating, which resulted in 18 eligible studies. Most studies were underpowered, many were of low methodological quality, and none of the included studies utilized all of the strategies that have been recommended to optimize CERP. Despite these weaknesses, CERP appeared to reduce the frequency of binge eating in the short and long term. This review underscores the need for higher quality research that utilizes larger samples and uniform outcome measures that are more strongly grounded in theory. Such research would help improve treatment outcomes for binge eating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-454
Number of pages13
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • cue exposure therapy
  • binge-eating disorder
  • feeding and eating disorders
  • food cue reactivity
  • obesity


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