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Keywords:

  • pro-ana;
  • eating disorder;
  • Internet;
  • review;
  • anorexia nervosa

Abstract

Objective:

The purpose of this article is to describe the content of pro-anorexia websites, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Method:

An Internet search protocol was developed to identify pro-anorexia websites. A grounded theory approach was used to generate themes from Internet-based information. Basic descriptive analysis was employed to report on key website characteristics.

Results:

Twenty pro-anorexia websites met inclusion criteria. Saturation of themes was achieved after review of 12 websites. Key website characteristics included purpose of website (75%), information about webmaster (67%), website disclaimers (58%), and information on “tips and tricks” (67%). Religious metaphors, lifestyle descriptions, and “thinspiration” (inspirational photo galleries and quotes that aim to serve as motivators for weight loss) were frequently present. A total of 10 themes were generated. The most prevalent themes included control, success, and perfection.

Conclusion:

Health-care providers and caregivers should be aware of pro-anorexia websites and their content, as these websites contain information that promote and support anorexia nervosa. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006