• male or female therapists;
  • eating-disordered patients;
  • client characteristics



This study assessed the client and clinician characteristics associated with choosing a male or a female therapist for eating-disordered individuals. Method: Participants were 27 clinicians who worked in the field of eating disorders. They were asked to judge whether they would be more likely to recommend a male or a female therapist for an adolescent client presenting with eating problems, given different clinical features. Results: Considering the group as a whole, the client characteristics that were associated with a preference for a female therapist included a history of paternal sexual abuse, body image issues, and an overprotective mother. The recommendation of a female therapist was more likely if the participants were older, and less likely if they were medically qualified. However, duration of experience with eating-disordered patients was not a relevant factor. Discussion: Future research into the appropriateness of male or female therapists for eating-disordered clients should attend to the complex contribution of both therapists' and clients' characteristics. © 1998 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 23:117–123, 1998.