Cornell University Research Examines Participation at Pro-Anorexia Websites

CornellLogoNatalie Bazarova, an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University, and Pamara Chang, a Ph.D. candidate in the communications department, have authored a new study on women who become active participants at websites that tend to glorify anorexia nervosa. Their study, “Managing Stigma: Disclosure-Response Communication Patterns at Pro-Anorexic Websites,” is scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the journal Health Communications.

The authors note that more than one half of individuals who have anorexia have visited pro-anorexia websites. “It’s a unique type of social support that is surprisingly popular,” says Chang. She notes that visitors to these websites are often “ostracized for not being extreme enough. Sometimes they are called ‘wanna-rexics’ and these negative responses feed their need to maintain or even increase anorectic tendencies like starvation and extreme exercise.”

The authors collected and analyzed posts made on pro-anorexic websites over the course of a year. The authors state that they “wanted to see the type of feedback people get when they divulge their problems and how this feedback effects them.” They found what they called “a continuous stream of negativity.”

As a result of the research, Chang suggests that “it’s important to understand the needs these individuals have and the support they seek so that we can come up with a more nuanced, rather than prescriptive, approach to intervention and recovery.”

Filed Under: Research/Study


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply