Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Eating Disorders, Health Psychology, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Psychological Disorders, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Imagine that you were involved in the development of a website that was intended to reach out to young women struggling with eating disorders that part of your site involves having young women with anorexia talk about the sorts of things they struggled with what they were engaged with the disorder. Would you view this sort of material as a helpful addition to the sort of website? Would it even occurred to you that one possible effect of that kind of material on such a website might turn out to be precisely the opposite of what you would hope? The article linked below talks about a research study that looked directly at this particular question.

Source: Kids Now Find More Anti-Anorexia Videos on YouTube Than ‘Pro-Ana’ Ones, Healthday, Alan Mozes

Date: December 16, 2015


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The idea that young women struggling with anorexia may actually be using material posted on websites that was intended to be of assistance in helping them to come to terms of their disorder but in fact were being used as tips for how to be a more effective anorexic is quite alarming. Add to that a number of websites that exist and that are referred to as “Pro – Ana” in nature, meaning that they support what might be reviewed as an anorexic lifestyle, and you can see the challenge faced by individuals and organizations wanting to design websites that will provide positive support and engagement opportunities for young women struggling with eating disorders. The researchers discussed in this article looked at was a more recent proliferation of YouTube based videos aimed at discussing the anxiety and other symptoms associated with anorexia in ways that do not positively support the disorder or otherwise enable individuals struggling with the disorder. Think a little bit about the difficulties associated with making this distinction and with developing appropriate materials and then read the article and perhaps the more detailed research article linked below to see where things are currently at in this area.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the ways in which videos and other web-based messages intended to engage with young women struggling with eating disorders fail or even have effects that are opposite to those originally intended?
  2. What sorts of factors are involved in ensuring that a video or other web presentation related to eating disorders and its various symptoms and issues have a positive rather than and enabling or negative impact on individuals struggling with eating disorders?
  3. What other sorts of disorders or personal challenges might be open to similar kinds of issues as those discussed in this article in relation to anorexia and other eating disorders?

References (Read Further):

Oksanen, A., Garcia, D., & Räsänen, P. (2016). Proanorexia Communities on Social Media. Pediatrics, peds-2015.

Oksanen, A., Garcia, D., Sirola, A., Näsi, M., Kaakinen, M., Keipi, T., & Räsänen, P. (2015). Pro-Anorexia and Anti-Pro-Anorexia Videos on YouTube: Sentiment Analysis of User Responses. Journal of medical Internet research, 17(11), e256.