Residents' and Fellows' Knowledge and Attitudes About Eating Disorders at an Academic Medical Center

Acad Psychiatry. 2017 Jun;41(3):381-384. doi: 10.1007/s40596-016-0578-z. Epub 2016 Nov 23.


Objective: This study examined physician residents' and fellows' knowledge of eating disorders and their attitudes toward patients with eating disorders.

Methods: Eighty physicians across disciplines completed a survey. The response rate for this survey across disciplines was 64.5 %.

Results: Participants demonstrated limited knowledge of eating disorders and reported minimal comfort levels treating patients with eating disorders. Psychiatry discipline (p = 0.002), eating disorder experience (p = 0.010), and having ≥4 eating disorder-continuing medical education credits (p = 0.037) predicted better knowledge of anorexia nervosa but not bulimia nervosa. Psychiatry residents (p = 0.041), and those who had treated at least one eating disorder patient (p = 0.006), reported significantly greater comfort treating patients with eating disorders.

Conclusion: These results suggest that residents and fellows from this sample may benefit from training to increase awareness and confidence necessary to treat patients with eating disorders. Sufficient knowledge and comfort are critical since physicians are often the first health care provider to have contact with patients who have undiagnosed eating disorders.

Keywords: Continuing medical education; Eating disorders; Residents physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / statistics & numerical data
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychiatry / statistics & numerical data