How do people with eating disorders experience the stigma associated with their condition? A mixed-methods systematic review

O'Connor, C., McNamara, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-3123-3678, O'Hara, L., McNicholas, M. and McNicholas, F., 2019. How do people with eating disorders experience the stigma associated with their condition? A mixed-methods systematic review. Journal of Mental Health. ISSN 0963-8237

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Abstract

Background: Public opinion research shows that eating disorders (EDs) are a major target of stigmatisation. To understand the implications of this stigma, research investigating how stigma is experienced by individuals with EDs is critical.

Aims: This paper aims to collate, evaluate and synthesise the extant empirical research illuminating how people with EDs experience the stigma associated with their condition.

Method: A systematic mixed-methods literature search was performed. Articles that met a specified set of inclusion criteria underwent a quality assessment and thematic synthesis.

Results: 29 articles were included in the review. Studies were mostly qualitative and of reasonable methodological quality. The literature was characterised by five research themes, illuminating (i) the nature and prevalence of stigma experienced, (ii) stigma in families, (iii) stigma in healthcare contexts, (iv) self-stigmatisation and illness concealment, and (v) stigma resistance.

Conclusions: The reviewed research showed that people with EDs have extensive experience of stigma in diverse settings. They report that stigma has negative implications for their psychological wellbeing and likelihood of help-seeking. However, research also shows that people with EDs actively seek to resist and challenge stigma. The review identifies the outstanding gaps and weaknesses in this literature.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Mental Health
Creators: O'Connor, C., McNamara, N., O'Hara, L., McNicholas, M. and McNicholas, F.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 11 November 2019
ISSN: 0963-8237
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1080/09638237.2019.1685081DOI
1206595Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 24 Oct 2019 11:50
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 15:44
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/38034

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