eCite Digital Repository

Beliefs of women concerning the severity and prevalence of bulimia nervosa


Mond, JM and Hay, PJ and Rodgers, B and Owen, C and Beumont, PJ, Beliefs of women concerning the severity and prevalence of bulimia nervosa, Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 39, (4) pp. 299-304. ISSN 0933-7954 (2004) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2004 Springer

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00127-004-0726-8


Background: Few studies have examined attitudes towards eating-disordered behaviour among women in the general population.

Methods: A vignette describing a fictional person meeting diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa (BN) was presented to a community sample of women aged 18–45. Respondents (n = 208) were asked a series of questions concerning the severity and prevalence of the problem described.

Results: Most respondents viewed BN as a distressing condition whose sufferers are deserving of sympathy. However, more than one-third of respondents had at some stage believed that it ‘might not be too bad’ to be like the person described in the vignette. Most respondents believed that the prevalence of the problem described among women in the community was likely to be between 10 % and 30 % (48.6 %) or between 30 % and 50 % (23.1 %). Individuals with a clinically significant eating disorder (n = 13, 6.3 %) were more likely to perceive the symptoms of BN as being acceptable, and its prevalence higher, than individuals with no eating disorder diagnosis.

Conclusions: Information concerning the medical and psychological sequelae of BN and other eating disorders might usefully be incorporated in prevention programmes. Prospective community-based research is required to elucidate the nature of the relationship between perceived acceptability of eating disorder symptoms and actual eating disorder psychopathology. Extension of the present research to examine the views of women in other cultures would also be of interest.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Mental health literacy, Bulimia nervosa, Acceptability
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Mond, JM (Dr Jon Mond)
ID Code:117980
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:56
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2017-06-29
Last Modified:2017-09-11

Repository Staff Only: item control page