Pro-anorexia websites: what a clinician should know

Int J Eat Disord. 2009 May;42(4):367-70. doi: 10.1002/eat.20608.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to conduct a content analysis of the "Tips and Tricks" section of pro-ana websites to better understand information shared on these sites, and aide clinicians in identification, treatment, and prevention of anorexia.

Method: Nine pro-ana websites were evaluated to identify categories of information in "Tips and Tricks." A content analysis was performed using emergent coding methods and 16 categories were determined. Reliability was acceptable (Cohen's Kappa = 0.702). Discrepancies were corrected by consensus. Frequencies of individual categories were computed.

Results: Most "Tips and Tricks" are directed at dieting/restricting calories (28.6%) and distraction (14.0%). Most disturbing, 11% of comments were directed at lying and concealing symptoms.

Discussion: Clinicians aware of "Tips and Tricks" might be better equipped to recognize the symptoms of anorexia early in treatment. Knowledge of "Tips and Tricks" can also facilitate better education, making it difficult for clients to conceal their illness.

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Caloric Restriction / methods
  • Caloric Restriction / psychology
  • Deception
  • Diet, Reducing / methods
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Weight Loss*