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People with anorexia less likely to be blamed when biology, genetics explained
Date:1/11/2008

ersonal control of those who suffer from it, according to research cited as background information in the UNC study. As a result, many people tend to view those with anorexia as being responsible for their illness. This stigma is believed to create additional difficulties for people with the disease, including making them more reluctant to seek treatment.

In the UNC study, 115 undergraduate nursing students were first given a questionnaire that asked about the participants prior level of contact with people with anorexia nervosa. Then each was given a one-page information sheet. Roughly half received an information sheet that emphasized what is currently known about the biological and genetic contributions to the development of the disorder. The other half received an information sheet that emphasized sociocultural explanations for the causes of the illness.

After the students read the information they were given a second questionnaire in which they were asked to indicate on a seven-point scale the extent to which eight factors contributed to the development of anorexia. These factors were poor living habits, parenting, biological factors, lack of social support, self discipline, societys thin ideal, genetic factors and vanity.

The questionnaire also asked other questions intended to measure the participants attitudes toward people with anorexia, including whether or not they would sign a petition asking insurance companies to provide equal coverage for anorexia as they do for other medical conditions.

The results showed that individuals in the group given the sociocultural explanation were more likely to agree with the statement, They are to blame for their condition. They were also more likely to agree that parenting, vanity and lack of social support were causes of anorexia nervosa.

The study concluded that people who were presented with even minimal information about the biological and genetic underpinnings of (anore
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Contact: Stephanie Crayton
scrayton@unch.unc.edu
919-966-2860
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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