Medical providers' screening, training and intervention practices for eating disorders

Eat Disord. 2010 Mar-Apr;18(2):110-31. doi: 10.1080/10640260903585532.


Individuals struggling with an eating disorder are typically first seen by their family physician, yet little is known about how medical providers are trained to work with eating disorders or about their screening and intervention practices (Clarke & Polimeni-Walker, 2004). This study sought to examine frontline medical providers' eating disorder screening and intervention practices as well as their training needs. Medical providers' perspectives were elicited through survey data and semi-structured interview data. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents reported that they had patients with eating disorders who they were unsure how to treat and 54% reported either moderately or strongly supporting universal screening for eating disorders with all patients regardless of presenting issue. Qualitative themes including challenges and barriers to effective screening, desire for increased eating disorder trainings, and fear of incompetence emerged from the interviews. Training implications and future research directions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians, Family
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires