Mond, JM and Robertson-Smith, G and Vetere, A, Stigma and eating disorders: Is there evidence of negative attitudes towards anorexia nervosa among women in the community?, Journal of Mental Health, 15, (5) pp. 519-532. ISSN 0963-8237 (2006) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2006 Shadowfax Publishing and Informa UK Ltd.
Background and aims: Few studies have examined stigma towards individuals affected by eating disorders. The aim of this study was to elucidate negative attitudes concerning the eating disorder anorexia nervosa (AN).
Method: A vignette describing a fictional 15-year-old female meeting diagnostic criteria for AN was presented to 250 female university students, followed by a series of questions designed to assess perceptions of severity, self-centredness, contribution to society, social distance and desirability. Participants’ levels of eating disorder psychopathology and familiarity with the problem described were also assessed.
Results: Whereas attitudes were generally positive, negative attitudes were apparent in responses to items addressing self-centredness and social distance. In addition, many participants had at some stage thought that it ‘‘might not be too bad’’ to have the problem described. Exposure to information concerning the problem described through film or television was associated with less negative attitudes, whereas other types of exposure had little or no effect.
Conclusions: Negative attitudes towards individuals affected by AN exist among women in the community, as well as ambivalence concerning the severity of the disorder. Further research is needed to identify the nature of stigma associated with eating disorders and the variables that moderate its expression.
|Item Type:||Refereed Article|
|Keywords:||Stigma, Eating disorders, Anorexia nervosa|
|Research Division:||Medical and Health Sciences|
|Research Group:||Public Health and Health Services|
|Research Field:||Mental Health|
|Objective Group:||Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health)|
|Objective Field:||Mental Health|
|Author:||Mond, JM (Dr Jon Mond)|
|Deposited By:||Centre for Rural Health|
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