Bulimia nervosa mental health literacy of general practitioners

Phillipa J. Hay*, Carlie De Angelis, Harry Millar, Jonathan Mond

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: The study's aims were to gain a better understanding of the bulimia nervosa mental health literacy (BN-MHL) of general practitioners (GPs), namely their beliefs about bulimia nervosa (BN) and its treatment, and to compare these perceptions with those found in community women. Methods: A postal survey was sent to 304 city GPs. The survey comprised a fictional vignette of a woman with BN followed by questions about perceived prevalence, severity, management, aetiology and prognosis. Results: Of the 149 (49%) respondents, 95% identified the problem as an eating disorder, 51% specifying BN. Eighty percent considered it a very distressing problem and 70% considered it uncommon in their practice and very difficult to treat. Nearly half regarded a psychiatrist as the most helpful clinician. Eighty percent thought discrimination would occur if others knew about the problem. Conclusion: GPs correctly identified BN and specialist treatment was favourably regarded. As found previously in surveys of the general population most GPs considered BN severe, distressing, and difficult to treat. The main limitation of the study was the low response rate.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)103-108
    Number of pages6
    JournalPrimary Care and Community Psychiatry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • Beliefs
    • Bulimia nervosa
    • Treatment


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