Beliefs of the public concerning the helpfulness of interventions for bulimia nervosa

Jonathan M. Mond*, Phillipa J. Hay, Bryan Rodgers, Cathy Owen, Pierre J V Beumont

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To examine the beliefs of women concerning the helpfulness of various possible interventions for bulimia nervosa. Method: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a community sample of 208 women aged 18-45 years. Respondents were presented with a vignette describing a fictional person meeting diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa and were asked to indicate whether various persons, treatments, medications, and self-help activities would be helpful, harmful, or neither helpful nor harmful for the person described. Results: Respondents indicated that seeing a general practitioner (GP), counselor, or dietitian was more likely to be helpful than seeing either a psychologist or a psychiatrist. GPs were perceived as the individuals likely to be most helpful for the problem described, and most likely to be approached first, whereas counseling was regarded as the most helpful treatment. Self-help interventions, including the use of vitamins and minerals, were also highly regarded, while a minority of participants believed that anti-depressant medication would be helpful. Conclusions: Information concerning treatments that are effective for eating disorders should be included in prevention programs. Collaborations between mental health specialists and primary health providers are vital to ensure the optimal treatment of eating-disordered behavior.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)62-68
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


    • Eating disorders
    • Mental health literacy
    • Prevention programs


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