Eating disorders and related stigma: analysis among a population of Italian nursing students

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Roberto Lupo
Melania Zaminga
Maria Chiara Carriero
Pietro Santoro
Giovanna Artioli
Antonino Calabrò
Federica Ilari
Angelo Benedetto
Manuela Caslini
Massimo Clerici
Luana Conte
Maicol Carvello

Keywords

anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, eating disorders, nursing student, stigma

Abstract

According to the World Health Organization, eating disorders are a constantly growing public health problem in industrialized countries with an important stigmatizing impact. The study investigates stigmatizing beliefs and attitudes towards Anorexia nervosa (AN) and Bulimia nervosa (BN). Materials and Methods: From October 2018 to November 2019, an online survey was conducted for students of the Degree Courses in Nursing of 2 Italian university centres, using the Italian version of the SAB-BN-ITA, adapted for AN. Results: The sample consists of 517 nursing students, aged between 20 and 23. Male subjects presented higher scores, relative to stigma, both for BN (F =17.5, p <0.001) and for AN (F = 1 9.64, p <0.001). For the sample the main trigger factor of BN is the influence of the media (56.67), the lack of social support (53.19) and parental care (51.84). The association between the stigmatizing views was explored through Spearman’s correlation and a linear regression model between the two overall scores (coeff. 0.73; p <0.001: r-squared 0.52). The ‘self-regulation’ is the stigmatizing opinions for AN (Coeff. 0.0768; p <0.001; r-squared 0.039) and BN (Coeff 0.0684; p <0.001; r-squared 0.030), and the ‘social support’ is stigmatizing opinions for AN (coeff. -0.0713; p = 0.004; r-squared 0.016). Conclusions: The study shows that the male gender has a higher level of stigma than the female one. Moreover, a large number of students consider media influence to be the main causative factor in the onset of ADs, in addition to the lack of social support.

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