Representations and Beliefs About Eating Disorders in a Sample of French Adolescents

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Body dissatisfaction and psychological problems are cited as the major cause of anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). Behavioral characteristics most often associated with AN and BN are food restriction, vomiting, and excessive exercise. The objective of this study was to examine representations and beliefs about AN and BN in a sample of French adolescents.


The sample was composed of 942 adolescents (16.4 years ± 1.2; 59.1% girls and 40.9% boys).


Excessive thinness and health problems were the physical characteristics most often associated with eating disorders (ED). A majority of the adolescents believe that ED most often manifest in adolescent females and were conscious of the gravity and chronic nature of ED; thinness was appropriately associated with AN, but many had erroneous beliefs regarding BN.


The results of this study provide insight into what young people in France believe and understand about the two major ED and advocate for more available information concerning BN for this population. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)

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