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Stigmatizing views towards individuals with eating disorders: trends and associations from 1998 to 2008 using a repeated cross-sectional design

Guy, Jennifer; Bould, Helen; Lewis, Glyn; Solmi, Francesca; (2021) Stigmatizing views towards individuals with eating disorders: trends and associations from 1998 to 2008 using a repeated cross-sectional design. British Journal of Psychiatry , Article PII S0007125021001756. 10.1192/bjp.2021.175. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background Eating disorders are stigmatised. Little is known about whether stigma has decreased over time and which groups hold more stigmatising beliefs. Aims To explore whether stigma towards eating disorders has changed between 1998 and 2008 and whether it varies by sociodemographic characteristics. Method We used the Office for National Statistics Omnibus surveys 1998 and 2008. As outcomes, we selected four questions eliciting participants' views on issues of blame and ability to recover, and compared their mean scores across eating disorders, depression and alcohol dependence in both years. We used multivariable linear regressions to investigate associations between sociodemographic characteristics and each stigma domain. Results In total, 2720 participants had data on all variables of interest. Compared with 1998, in 2008 stigmatising views towards eating disorders improved. In both years, participants believed it was easier to recover from eating disorders than depression or alcohol dependence. Respondents believed people with eating disorders were more to blame for their condition than those with depression, but less than those with alcohol dependence. Men, those with less formal education, and those from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to place greater blame on individuals for their mental illness. Men were more likely than women to think it was possible to recover from an eating disorder. Conclusions Stigmatising attitudes towards people with eating disorders have improved over time, but are still greater than those observed for other mental illnesses. Improving eating disorder mental health literacy could help to reduce these negative views and lead to improved quality of life, greater help-seeking and better prognosis.

Type: Article
Title: Stigmatizing views towards individuals with eating disorders: trends and associations from 1998 to 2008 using a repeated cross-sectional design
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1192/bjp.2021.175
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2021.175
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Psychiatry, Stigma, eating disorders, depression, alcohol dependence, HELP-SEEKING, PEOPLE, PREVALENCE, DEPRESSION, ATTITUDES, BARRIERS
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10143036
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