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Disclosing a mental illness can be difficult, especially for those affected by eating disorders. Individuals impacted by eating disorders often worry that disclosing their situation may lead to fear, judgment, and stigmatization. Online eating disorder communities have become increasingly popular, hosting thousands of users worldwide, and may be safe places for individuals with eating disorders to communicate and connect. In this postmodern study, we utilized situational analysis to examine online accounts on publically accessible websites where individuals discussed disclosing eating disorders. Situational Analysis utilizes illustrative mapping techniques to demonstrate the complexity of the situation of inquiry, allowing researchers to highlight heterogeneities. Our findings demonstrated (a) the fight that frequently occurs after an eating disorder disclosure, (b) the notion that eating disorders are a monstrous issue, and (c) stigmatization one experiences after disclosing and when considering to disclose. This study has potential to inform educational recommendations given to the public about disclosures and stigma in regard to eating disorders, as well as earlier identification and treatment outcomes for individuals with eating disorders.
Eating Disorders, Situational Analysis, Disclosure, Social Media
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Recommended APA Citation
Williams, E. P., Russell-Mayhew, S., & Ireland, A. (2018). Disclosing an Eating Disorder: A Situational Analysis of Online Accounts. The Qualitative Report, 23(4), 914-931. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2018.3126