Pathways to Help-Seeking in Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Problems: A Concept Mapping Approach

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Objective:To conduct an in-depth study, using concept mapping, of three factors related to help-seeking for bulimia nervosa and binge eating: problem recognition, barriers to help-seeking, and prompts to help-seeking.Method:Semistructured interviews were conducted to elicit information about help-seeking with 63 women (18–62 years) with past or present bulimic behaviors.Results:Using Leximancer software, factors identified as associated with problem recognition were Changes in Behavior, Interference with Life Roles, Comments about Changes and Psychological Problems. Salient barriers to help-seeking were Fear of Stigma, Low Mental Health Literacy/Perception of Need, Shame, Fear of Change and Cost. Prompts to help-seeking were increased Symptom Severity, Psychological Distress, Interference with Life Roles, Health Problems, and Desire to Get Better.Conclusion:Results highlighted the need for awareness campaigns to reduce both self and perceived stigma by others towards bulimic behaviors, and the need to enhance awareness of available interventions for people ready to engage in treatment, to increase help-seeking. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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