Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

William H. Davies


Despite the severe impact of anorexia nervosa if left untreated, it has been estimated that only roughly 10% of those meeting diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa ever seek out effective treatment. The most cited potential barrier to treatment seeking for general mental health issues is an individual's fear of stigmatization (Corrigan, 2004), but this has never having been examined specifically for anorexia nervosa, In order to further the understanding as to how stigmatization may affect treatment seeking for individuals with anorexia nervosa, it is first necessary to establish the currently held stereotypes for anorexia nervosa. It is the goal of the present study to ascertain currently held stereotypes for anorexia nervosa through qualitatively and quantitatively based responses with an emerging adult population; and develop and pilot a measure that can be used to assess these perceptions efficiently. Qualitative responses from 621 emerging adults suggested that they described individuals with anorexia in with responses that could be coded into the following factors: Physical Characteristics, Self-esteem/Self-image, Depression, Behavior, Anxiety, Determined/Control, Interpersonal, Global, Unspecified Mental Health, Mood Instability, and Other. The most common qualitative responses were compiled into a 30-item questionnaire that was administered to 777 emerging adults from different samples. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a seven-factor solution; five of these factors demonstrated adequate internal consistency. These factors, listed in decreasing order by overall mean score were: Psychopathology, Determination, Affluent Background, Positive Characteristics, and Global Negative. Taken together, results from these two studies suggest that emerging adults have a well-rounded knowledge of the nature of anorexia nervosa as a disorder, and overall report low levels of stereotypical thoughts.

Included in

Psychology Commons