University Of Tasmania

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Gender differences in perceptions of the severity and prevalence of eating disorders

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 06:35 authored by Jon MondJon Mond, Arrighi, A

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 title

Early intervention in psychiatry








School of Health Sciences



Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health

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