Treatment issues and outcomes for males with eating disorders

Eat Disord. 2012;20(5):444-59. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2012.715527.


The aim of this article is to discuss critical issues in treating males with eating disorders, and to present assessment and treatment outcome data for 111 males who received residential treatment for moderate to severe eating disorders. Males with eating disorders are often not included in eating disorder research as the population of individuals with eating disorders has historically been predominantly female. Whether this is due to actual lower prevalence of this disorder among males or to fewer males seeking treatment is not clear. In any case, there is limited empirical research on the particular treatment issues of males, and in treatment environments males are frequently in the minority. We have found that an all-male treatment environment is helpful in allowing males to benefit from treatment with less stigma. Data are presented which characterize psychiatric co-morbidity, excessive exercise, body image, sexuality, and spirituality in males. Treatment outcomes for males in this environment are positive.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Exercise
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotherapy, Group
  • Residential Treatment / methods*
  • Sexuality / psychology*
  • Spirituality*
  • Treatment Outcome