File(s) under permanent embargo
Gender differences in perceptions of the severity and prevalence of eating disorders
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.
Publication titleEarly intervention in psychiatry
Department/SchoolSchool of Health Sciences
Place of publicationAustralia
Rights statement© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd