Clinicians as a critical link: Understanding health professionals' beliefs and attitudes toward anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder

Deborah Lynn Reas, Rasmus Isomaa, Kjersti Solhaug Gulliksen, Johanna Levallius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the perspectives of health professionals remains an understudied issue, yet may help bridge research-practice gaps and pinpoint important areas for education, training, and research. This study investigated attitudes toward anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge eating disorder (BED) among Nordic health professionals specialized within the eating disorder (ED) field. Participants (n = 144) completed a modified ED-version of the Illness Perception Questionnaire which assessed attitudes and beliefs toward perceived symptom controllability, severity, treatment effectiveness, and views on the prognosis of AN, BN, and BED. Personal enjoyment and level of comfort working with AN, BN, and BED were also assessed. The majority agreed or strongly agreed that patients with AN, BN, and BED were not responsible for their illness, and viewed the illnesses as psychological rather than medical in etiology. AN was viewed as the most severe and enduring, followed by BN, then BED. Treatment for BN was viewed as being more highly effective than treatments for either AN or BED. Professionals rated significantly less enjoyment and less confidence working with BED. To conclude, both commonalities and differences in attitudes toward AN, BN and BED were found in terms of perceived symptom controllability, views on severity, treatment effectiveness, and anticipated prognosis. In particular, findings emphasized the need for additional training in the management of BED among Nordic healthcare professionals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Sep 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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