Content analysis of male participation in pro-eating disorder web sites

Eat Disord. 2014;22(2):97-110. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2013.864891. Epub 2013 Dec 20.

Abstract

The pro-anorexia community has emerged as a powerful cultural movement that takes an at least partially positive attitude toward anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. A systematic review of the literature on pro-ana forums focused specifically on females with eating disorders. However, epidemiological data suggest that as much as 25% of the eating disorders population is male. In our review of pro-anorexia web sites, we found a substantial number of participants were male. We conducted a qualitative content analysis of male participation in pro-ana forums in an effort to learn more about male participation in these forums. In this article, we present the results of this analysis, highlighting themes of social support, community appreciation, and ambivalence, as well as themes that appear to be particular to the male experience of eating disorders, such as alienation and teasing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support*