Service users' views of eating disorder services: An international comparison




To perform a United States–United Kingdom cross-national comparison of service users' perspectives on eating disorder (ED) treatments and services.


Qualitative, exploratory study. One hundred forty-four US and 150 UK ED service users completed a questionnaire developed by the Academy for Eating Disorders. Data were analyzed using conventional content analysis.


Both samples identified the following as essential aspects of care: good therapeutic relationship, holistic approach, individual psychotherapy/counseling, specialized treatment, client-centered care, and support. In the US sample, the main concerns involved lack of financial accessibility to services and problems with insurance coverage. In the UK sample, lack of and inequity of availability of services were highlighted and three main barriers to accessing care were identified.


US and UK service users' views suggest that neither country provides early intervention and comprehensive care for EDs at present, although due to dissimilar health care systems the barriers to care differ. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010; 43:549–559