International Communication Association location:Montréal date:22-26 April 2008
Pro-anorexia websites are website suggesting that anorexia nervosa is a conscious lifestyle choice rather than a disorder. In a sample of 711 students from the first, third and fifth school year in Flanders, Belgium, 12.6 % of the girls and 5.9 % of the boys had visited such websites. Visiting pro-anorexia websites was associated with higher drive for thinness, worse perception of appearance, more perfectionism and more fear of gaining weight, all potential predictors of developing anorexia nervosa. The paper concludes that on line support exists for those wishing to obtain and then maintain a body shape and body mass which is defined as problematic by official medical and psychological care givers and by government agencies. Access to these “anti recovery” sites is widespread. Agencies aimed at intervention and prevention should be aware of the existence and potential impact of these sites.