More threads by Halo

Halo

Member
Pro-anorexia websites hurt viewers' self-esteem

Friday, September 14, 2007
By Anne Harding

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - No matter what their weight or their eating habits, young women feel worse about themselves and their appearance after viewing pro-anorexia websites, which explicitly encourage extreme thinness, a new study shows.

"It works on a couple of levels, it works on mood, it works on your body image," said Dr. Anna M. Bardone-Cone of the University of Missouri in Columbia, one of the study's authors. "Everyone's affected."

Bardone-Cone and her colleague Kamila M. Cass suggest that parents may want to take steps to prevent their children from viewing such sites, by blocking access to them and by keeping any household computers in open areas so they can supervise their use, for example.

So-called "pro-ana" websites have been in the media spotlight recently, the two investigators note in their report in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Health professionals have expressed concerns that the sites, which include "thinspiration" photos of skeletal models and "Tips and Tricks" for losing weight, may be harmful to viewers.

To investigate, Bardone-Cone and Cass created a "prototypic" pro-ana website, and randomly assigned 235 female college students to view it, or a fashion website featuring normal-weight models, or a site on home decor. Fourteen percent of the study participants met criteria for having a possible eating disorder, while about 17 percent were overweight.

After looking at the anorexia-promoting Web site, young women had worse moods, worse social self-esteem, and a worse sense of their ability to cope with their appearance than those who viewed one of the other two websites. They also thought of themselves as heavier and said they were more likely to exercise and think about their weight in the near future.

The effect was the same whether or not women were actually overweight, and whether or not they reported possibly disordered eating behavior.

Many women who view pro-ana websites may not have active eating disorders, but are instead looking for weight loss tips or are simply curious, Bardone-Cone noted. "If I were the parent of a daughter, I'd definitely have concerns about that." She added that the findings confirm "there's stuff on the Internet that really kids shouldn't be seeing."

SOURCE: International Journal of Eating Disorders, September 2007
 

Similar threads

Pro-Anorexia Websites: A Cult of Starvation by Tara Sena-Becker, Suite 101 Dec 6, 2007 Enter the disturbing world of pro-anorexia websites. A quasi-religious online community, guided by the Ana Psalm, where thinspiration is the key to happiness and success. Type the word anorexia into a search engine and the results will be largely identical ? hundreds of websites providing information, support and advice to sufferers of a serious and deadly mental illness. Add the prefix pro- to that...
Replies
0
Views
4K
Pro-Anorexia Websites Wage PR War with Dangerous Support and Advice Monday, September 17, 2007 At Treatment Online we spend a lot of time trying to dispel the stigma surrounding mental disorders. We feel strongly that misperceptions about the mentally ill being dangerous, disgusting, or unreachable add considerable anguish to lives that could be successfully integrated into society. However, some on the web are now engaged in a different kind of anti-stigma campaign. Pro-anorexia websites...
Replies
0
Views
2K
This totally needs to happen. I am guilty of going to these sites and it just made me engage in my behaviors even more so. They are truly pathetic.:rant:
Replies
1
Views
2K
Comment Isn’t allowing people to discuss their pro-ana needs just plain harmful and potentially dangerous? The answer to Grohol's question is an emphatic "Yes!". There is an enormous difference hetween raising awareness about anorexia and other eating disorders and pro-ana sites, just as there is between raising awareness about suicide and pro-suicide sites. Raising awareness draws attention to, and potentially political and financial support for research into causes and treatment of...
Replies
3
Views
3K
I think this is a good article too: Your Recovery Toolbox I hope you can go into that treatment program that you mentioned earlier, Ashley.
Replies
4
Views
3K
Top