The Effects of Stigma on Recovery Attitudes in People With Anorexia Nervosa in Intensive Treatment

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2016 May;204(5):370-80. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000480.


Self-stigma in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) may affect engagement in intensive treatment. The objective of this study was to test a Model of Self-Stigma to identify the influence of public stigma, internalized stigma, self-esteem, and self-efficacy on recovery attitudes in individuals in inpatient treatment for AN. Using a cross-sectional design, 36 female participants with AN completed questionnaires during the first week of intensive inpatient treatment. Better attitude towards recovery was positively correlated with higher self-esteem and self-efficacy and negatively correlated with greater internalized stigma and perceptions of others devaluing families of individuals with AN. Together, these factors accounted for 63% of the variance in recovery attitudes. Findings demonstrate the adverse effects perceived stigma towards families, self-stigma, and self-esteem have on recovery attitudes in individuals with AN. Clinical interventions are needed to challenge internalized stigma and bolster self-esteem to enhance individuals' recovery efforts.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function* / physiology
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Stigma*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult