Attitudes towards anorexia nervosa: The impact of framing on blame and stigma

Authors

  • Michele A. Crisafulli BA,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Ann Von Holle MS,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Cynthia M. Bulik PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    2. Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    • Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #7160, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7160
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Abstract

Objective:

We examined experimentally the way in which exposure to a sociocultural versus a biological/genetic explanation of the etiology of anorexia nervosa (AN) differentially affected attitudes towards AN.

Method:

Undergraduate nursing students were randomly assigned to read information emphasizing either biological/genetic or sociocultural factors in the development of AN. They then completed a series of questionnaires assessing their attitudes towards individuals with AN. Nonparametric tests were used to evaluate attitudinal differences between groups.

Results:

Those who were exposed to a biological/genetic explanation of the causes of AN tended to blame individuals with AN less than those exposed to a sociocultural explanation, although all results were not robust to correction for multiple comparisons.

Conclusion:

If these results are replicated in larger, population-based samples, wider dissemination of information regarding the biological and genetic underpinnings of AN should be considered as a possible pathway in decreasing the blame-based stigma associated with AN. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008.

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