Aim: Gender differences in perceptions of the severity and prevalence of anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) were examined in young men (n=113) and women (n=289) recruited from a regional university campus in north-east Australia. Methods: Participants viewed vignettes of fictional (female) sufferers of AN and BN and responded to the same series of questions in relation to each vignette. Results: For both vignettes, a substantial minority of male, but not female, participants indicated that they would be a little or not at all sympathetic to someone with the problem described, that the problem described would be a little or not at all difficult to treat, and that having the problem described would be moderately or a little distressing. Men were also more likely than women to consider BN to be primarily a problem of 'lack of will-power/self-control'. Perceptions of the prevalence of AN (modal response='very few women/10% or less') and BN ('10% to 30%') did not differ by gender and both male and female participants considered AN to be more severe and less common than BN. Conclusions: The findings suggest that there may be a need to target the attitudes and beliefs of young men in particular in the prevention and early intervention initiatives for eating disorders.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Early Intervention in Psychiatry|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2011|
- Eating disorders
- Gender differences
- Mental health literacy