Reducing anorexia nervosa stigma

an exploration of a social consensus intervention and the moderating effect of blameworthy attributions

Sarah Cassone, Elizabeth Rieger, Dimity A Crisp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Research suggests that blameworthy attributions towards individuals with anorexia nervosa are common, which in turn elicit more stigmatising attitudes towards those with the disorder. The social consensus approach has been found to reduce stigmatising attitudes in various domains and, as such, is a promising avenue to pursue for ameliorating stigma in anorexia nervosa. Aims: The present study primarily sought to investigate the effectiveness of a social consensus approach in reducing stigma towards individuals with anorexia nervosa. The study also examined if blameworthy attributions were associated with change in stigma. Method: An experimental design was employed, where female undergraduate students (N= 126) completed self-report measures that assessed anorexia nervosa stigma at baseline (Time 1) and 6-10 days after allocation to one of two conditions: social consensus and control (Time 2). Results: The social consensus intervention was more effective than the control condition in reducing stigmatising attitudes on measures assessing affective reactions (p= 0.025) and characteristics attributed to a target with anorexia nervosa (p < 0.001). Level of blame-based attributions did not moderate change in stigma. Conclusions: Results suggest that a social consensus intervention is promising irrespective of the endorsement of blameworthy attributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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