Weighty decisions: How symptom severity and weight impact perceptions of bulimia nervosa.

About this resource

OBJECTIVE: The current study examined whether variations in patient weight and eating-disorder behavior frequency influenced the recognition of bulimia nervosa (BN) and the perception that it is a serious mental health concern. METHOD: Participants (N = 320) were randomly assigned to one of six conditions in which they read a vignette describing a young woman with BN. Each vignette was identical except for the variables of interest: weight status (underweight, healthy-weight, and overweight), and symptom frequency (daily or weekly binge-eating episodes and purging). RESULTS:Participants were more likely to have negative attitudes toward and blame the patient with overweight. Participants were less likely to believe that the patient with overweight was experiencing mental illness and that her problems were too serious to handle on her own. There were no significant differences by symptom frequency. DISCUSSION: Findings suggest the presence of weight stigma and that overweight might impede the recognition of eating disorders.

AuthorGalbraith, Katharine; Elmquist, JoAnna; White, Marney A.; Grilo, Carlos M.; Lydecker, Janet A.
JournalThe International journal of eating disorders

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