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Date of Award

7-26-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

James B. Lane, PhD

Second Advisor

Jay C. Thomas, PhD, ABPP

Abstract

Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a well-documented disorder with serious psychological and physiological problems. Treatment for AN can include both inpatient and outpatient psychotherapy. Recently, online communities focusing on the maintenance of AN behaviors have formed. As little is known about the population of these communities, a survey was conducted to define users. Results demonstrated the majority of respondents were Caucasian females living in the United States between the ages of 18 to 22 years and had participated for over one year. Most participants would not meet DSM-IV criteria for Anorexia Nervosa. A majority of participants reported they were not currently participating in any type of psychotherapy. There was a clear sense of community reported, and nearly half reported finding others with similar interests or shared beliefs and having a safe place to talk to be most valuable. The instability of the community was reported to be the number one problem, but many individuals also reported that non-eating disordered individuals coming in to learn how to be anorexic was also a noteworthy problem.

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