Barriers to treatment for eating disorders among ethnically diverse women




This study examined barriers to treatment in an ethnically diverse community sample of women with eating disorders.


Participants were 61 women (22 Hispanics, 8 Asians, 12 Blacks, 19 Whites) with eating disorders. Diagnosis was determined using the Eating Disorder Examination. Treatment-seeking history, barriers to treatment seeking, ethnic identity, and acculturation were assessed.


Although 85% of the sample reported wanting help for an eating problem, only 57% had ever sought treatment for an eating or weight problem. Individuals who had sought treatment reported being significantly more distressed about their binge eating than those who had not sought treatment and having begun overeating at a younger age. Of those who had sought help, 86% had not received any treatment for their eating problems. The main barriers to treatment seeking were financial reasons.


Women from minority groups who have eating disorders are underdiagnosed and typically not treated. © 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 30: 269–278, 2001.