SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • media;
  • disaster coverage;
  • disordered eating;
  • internet

Abstract

Objective:

To prospectively explore the relationship between exposure to potentially distressing news content and disordered eating.

Method:

Within 2 weeks of the March 3, 2011 Japan earthquake, an online survey was conducted among non-Japanese adults in distant countries (N = 698) assessing time spent on TV and the internet watching the news as well as peritraumatic reactions to the news and sleep disturbance. Participants were invited to complete a followup survey two months later [n = 113, mean age (SD) = 38.8 (11.91), 73% female] reporting on eating disorder symptoms.

Results:

Exposure to TV and, to a lesser extent, internet coverage of the Japan disaster were associated with disordered eating, in particular dieting and oral control, as measured by the eating attitudes test. Peritraumatic reactions and sleep disturbance displayed specific patterns of association with disordered eating.

Discussion:

Exposure to media coverage of distant disasters may be associated with increased disordered eating. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012;45:845–849)