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To what Extent do the Public Need Educating about Eating Disorders?

A, H; S, B; (2016) To what Extent do the Public Need Educating about Eating Disorders? Journal of Obesity & Eating Disorders , 2 (2) , Article 26. 10.21767/2471-8203.100026. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Previous studies highlight poor education around eating disorders (EDs) amongst the public, alongside negative attitudes towards those affected by EDs, which may reduce opportunities for help-seeking. Little is known about whether improved education regarding EDs gained through experience might impact negative attitudes and to attract government funding for public education campaigns, greater knowledge around levels of education is required. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate ED education in 10 adult women with experience of an ED attained through a close loved one’s illness and 10 women without experience. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results: Four themes endorsed by both groups emerged from the data: 1) general education (of individuals, society, health professionals); 2) education regarding the specific nature of the illness (role of food, addiction, severity, impact); 3) knowledge regarding aetiology (biological and social factors, self-esteem and the media); 4) hope and the future (sympathy, empathy and positive outcomes). Experienced participants reported higher education than inexperienced participants although knowledge gaps were observed across all participants and while strong negative views were not expressed, the experienced group offered greater empathy. Conclusion: The general public are relatively poorly educated about EDs and public education programmes are warranted, targeting the above themes, which appeared to be salient to lay individuals.

Type: Article
Title: To what Extent do the Public Need Educating about Eating Disorders?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.21767/2471-8203.100026
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.21767/2471-8203.100026
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Keywords: Eating disorders, Public health education, Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Mental health literacy, Stigma
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10061916
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