Causal factors of eating disorders attributed by health workers
Keywords:causal attributions, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, obesity, eating disorders
The aim of this study is to know how health professionals consider anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and obesity, specifically, their perception of the severity of these disorders and their perceived causes. Five hundred and eight physicians, nurses and psychologists in practice, of both sexes, responded anonymously and voluntarily to a questionnaire about severity and perceived causes of eating disorders. We analyze differences between the disorders, and among the participants (on their degrees, age, sex and professional experience with these patients). Participants consider eating disorders as very severe, with different causal factors, more related to biological aspects and lifestyle on obesity, and to emotional difficulties and social influences in anorexia and bulimia nervosas. In bulimia they give more importance to lifestyle and endocrine factors, while in anorexia they highlight self-discipline, the social ideal of thinness, peer influence, and vanity. Participants attribute to these patients significant control and responsibility for their problem (even more to obese patients). Some of the results suggest that obesity, anorexia and bulimia nervosas could be linked to certain negative valuations for health professionals.
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