Poor self-recognition of disordered eating among girls with bulimic-type eating disorders

cause for concern?

Kassandra Gratwick-Sarll*, Caroline Bentley, Carmel Harrison, Jonathan Mond

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Aim: Bulimic-type eating disorders are common among young women and associated with high levels of distress and disability and low uptake of mental health care. We examined self-recognition of disordered eating and factors associated with this among female adolescents with bulimic-type eating disorders (n = 139) recruited from a large, population-based sample. Methods: A vignette of a fictional character with bulimia nervosa was presented, followed by a series of questions addressing the nature and treatment of the problem described. One of these questions required participants to indicate whether they currently had a problem such as the one described. Self-report measures of eating disorder symptoms, general psychological distress and quality of life were also completed. Results: More than half of participants (58%) did not believe that they currently had a problem with their eating. In multivariable analysis, impairment in emotional well-being and self-induced vomiting were the only variables independently associated with self-recognition. Participants who recognized a problem with their eating were more likely to have sought treatment for an eating problem than those who did not. Conclusions: Recognition of disordered eating among adolescents with bulimic-type eating disorders may be poor and this may be a factor in low uptake of mental health care. Health promotion efforts may need to address the misconception that only bulimic-type disorders involving self-induced vomiting are pathological.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)316-323
    Number of pages8
    JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
    Volume10
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

    Keywords

    • binge eating disorder
    • bulimia nervosa
    • eating disorders
    • mental health literacy
    • self-recognition

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