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Keywords:

  • eating disorders;
  • ethnicity;
  • health care utilisation;
  • Mexican American;
  • treatment seeking

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate factors associated with treatment seeking in a community sample of European American and Mexican American women with eating disorders. We also explored which variables were associated with receiving treatment. Participants were 190 women with eating disorders (80 Mexican American, 110 European American) who were diagnosed using the SCID-IV and Eating Disorder Examination. Results indicated that treatment seeking is associated with ethnicity (i.e. being European American), suffering from bulimia nervosa and more frequent purging, longer duration of disorder and psychiatric comorbidity and, for Mexican American women, higher degree of acculturation. Detection and treatment of eating disorder was associated with ethnicity (European American), earlier age of onset and lower BMI. Given the debilitating and chronic nature of eating disorders, further knowledge of factors that impede or facilitate help seeking and detection and treatment is needed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.