NutriVenture is a research study that aims to test the feasibility of a personality-targeted intervention to prevent problematic eating and compulsive behaviours in adolescents.
Perfectionism and compulsive behaviours have been identified by numerous empirical studies as risk factors for the development of eating disorders in adolescence. Evidence from previous studies at the Venture Lab supports the effectiveness of the PreVenture program, a personality-targeted intervention, in addressing psychiatric and substance use disorders.
The use of cognitive behavioural interventions has been proven to reduce perfectionism and our research builds on the evidence by focusing on the adaption of the PreVenture program in order to target adolescents with high perfectionist and compulsive personality traits.
Our research involves three phases. First, we will recruit adolescents aged between 13 and 17 years from the Sainte-Justine Hospital’s pediatrics and psychiatry departments. Clinical interviews will be conducted in relation to participants's perfectionism, self-criticism and negative thoughts. Participants selected for interviews will have had previous experience dealing with difficulties related to their body image, their personal identity, and complicated relationships with their food intake (purging, binging, restriction).
The second phase of our study will target only adolescents with a high “compulsive-perfectionist” personality trait. Based on previous work in the Venture Lab, the selection will be based on results of the SURPS, a validated questionnaire. In our study, a new personality scale has been added to the preexisting SURPS as a way to identify at-risk participants with the targeted “compulsive-perfectionist” personality trait. Phase two comprises a trial intervention, involving a pre-post design targeting the extreme perfectionism trait in 30 participants. In addition, participant's experiences of anxiety, depression, and coping strategies will be measured to examine the impact of this new PreVenture intervention on health outcomes. The third phase of our study will involve focus groups with key stakeholders in schools and paediatric clinics in order to develop a feasible implementation program based on the results acquired in the previous phases.