Stigmatizing Attitudes and Beliefs Toward Bulimia Nervosa The Importance of Knowledge and Eating Disorder Symptoms Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Widely held stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs toward bulimic eating disorders may lead to self-blame and reduced treatment seeking. Knowledge and familiarity with mental disorders may help decrease associated stigma. However, these relationships are not well understood in bulimia nervosa (BN). A community sample of 1828 adults aged 18 to 70 years completed a survey assessing stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs toward BN, knowledge and familiarity with the disorder, as well as levels of eating disorder symptoms. Knowledge of BN was negatively associated with three dimensions of stigmatization, personal responsibility (ρ = -0.28), unreliability (ρ = -0.19), and advantages of BN (ρ = -0.23). Familiarity revealed no association with stigmatization. Both men and women with high levels of eating disorder symptoms perceived BN as less serious than the participants with low levels of symptoms. Increasing community knowledge about bulimia may help mitigate stigmatization and perceived barriers to treatment.

publication date

  • 2015