Self-Recognition of Eating-Disordered Behavior in College Women: Further Evidence of Poor Eating Disorders “Mental Health Literacy”?
Gratwick-Sarll, K and Mond, J and Hay, P, Self-Recognition of Eating-Disordered Behavior in College Women: Further Evidence of Poor Eating Disorders 'Mental Health Literacy'?, Eating disorders, 21, (4) pp. 310-327. ISSN 1064-0266 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Self-recognition of eating-disordered behavior was examined among female college students (n = 94) with a high level of bulimic-type eating disorder symptoms. A vignette was presented describing a fictional young woman with bulimia nervosa. Participants were asked whether they might currently have a problem such as the one described, while also completing self-report measures of eating disorder symptoms, general psychological distress, and functional impairment. Less than half (47.9%) of participants believed that they currently had a problem with their eating. In both bivariate and multivariable analysis, the variables most strongly associated with self-recognition were overall levels of eating disorder psychopathology, prior treatment for an eating problem, and the use of self-induced vomiting as a means of controlling weight or shape. No other eating disorder behaviors were independently associated with self-recognition. The findings support the hypothesis that young women with eating disorder symptoms may be unlikely, or at least less likely, to recognize a problem with their eating behavior when that behavior does not entail self-induced vomiting. Health promotion and early intervention programs for eating disorders may need to address the perception that, among young women of normal or above-average body weight, only problems with eating that involve self-induced vomiting are pathological.
Eating-disordered behaviour, Mental health literacy