Disordered eating and group membership among members of a pro-anorexic online community Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to explore motivations to become a member of a French-language 'pro-ana' online community, perceptions of support provided by other members and the nature of the information provided. METHOD: A sample of 29 members of an online community were assessed for disordered eating and responded to open-ended questions exploring perceptions of the online community. RESULTS: All participants reported high levels of disordered eating (Eating Attitudes Test > 30). The main motive for joining the online community was to be provided with both advice regarding weight loss and support. The majority of them equated thinness with happiness and were satisfied with their membership. Participants also described the types of advice that they had received concerning weight loss. CONCLUSIONS: Members of pro-ana online communities are likely to display high levels of disordered eating. Furthermore, membership to the online community was motivated not only by weight concerns but also by the support provided. Our findings confirmed the role of these online communities in encouraging harmful weight-loss and weight-control practices.

publication date

  • 2012