University of Exeter Press

Eating Disorders in Public Discourse

Exploring Media Representations and Lived Experiences

    • 362 Pages

    Eating disorders remain little understood by the public, and sensationalist stories in the media have done little to dispel simplistic and reductionist perspectives. This edited volume uses a range of language-centred approaches to provide much needed critical in-depth analysis and interdisciplinary synthesis.

    The book brings together researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds – including communication and information studies, journalism, linguistics, mental health, nursing, psychology and public health – in a collective endeavour to explore the complex relationship between eating disorders, public discourse and lived experiences. Topics tackled include the use of stigmatising narrative frames, stereotypes and metaphors; identity construction in online spaces; the ways in which individuals affected by eating disorders interpret media representations; and how parents write about their experiences of caring for children with eating disorders. The volume synthesises evidence from a range of data types, including UK and international newspapers, social media, online communities, blogs and forums, apps and in-depth interviews, and reflects a variety of cultural perspectives, including those held in the United States, the UK, Spain and Turkey. It will be of interest to academics, practitioners, students, mental health advocates, and anyone interested in how we make sense of eating disorders.

    Includes refreshing and original discussion of the impact of media discourses on sufferers – an often neglected perspective.

    Prof. Helen Kelly-Holmes, University of Limerick

    This wide-ranging collection shows us, in detailed analyses, how the ways we speak and write construct our relation to food and to each other to make what is pathological about eating normalised and turn many understandable responses into forms of pathology. Here are models for critical research, and new openings for empirical and conceptual questioning of what ‘disorder’ involves for those who diagnose it and for those who suffer it.

    Ian Parker, critical psychologist and Honorary Professor of Education, University of Manchester

    Eating Disorders in Public an important contribution to the issue of eating disorders that centers linguistic and qualitative approaches. This edited volume features excellent contributions from twenty five scholars, who address eating disorders in both traditional media and participatory media. This intervention is timely because as the editor argues in the book's introduction: “the coronavirus pandemic and its lockdown measures have resulted in a sharp and unprecedented surge in children and adolescents being referred for treatment to ED [eating disorder] services.”

    Robert K. Beshara, Assistant Professor and Chair of Arts & Human Sciences, Northern New Mexico College

    This timely and comprehensive book comprises critical analyses of the way disordered eating is framed in traditional (mass) and participatory (social) media, deftly analyzing many of the unintended consequences of that framing, like labeling and stigma for some and invisibility for others. I would consider this book required reading for anyone wishing to understand how mediated communication about disordered eating may achieve the goal of keeping an issue in the public’s consciousness, but compromise understanding and acceptance of real people living with eating disorders.

    Kristen Harrison, PhD, Professor of Communication & Media, University of Michigan

    It's about time that the deadliest and publicly vilified mental illness, eating disorders, will be captured in a comprehensive volume. With diverse authors, the book addresses crucial topics such as stigmatizing language, identity construction in online spaces, and media representation, drawing on a variety of data types and cultural perspectives. I would consider this book essential reading, as it effectively captures the dynamic relationship between those affected, media, and society.

    Daphna Yeshua-Katz, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

    Introduction Laura A. Cariola
    DOI: 10.47788/BASF7279

    Part I Traditional Media and Public Discourse

    1. Eating Disorder Metaphors in the American and Spanish Press Carolina Figueras Bates
    DOI: 10.47788/QWOM4518
    2. Animal Metaphors in Women’s Magazines: Their Potential Link with Eating Disorders Irene López-Rodríguez
    DOI: 10.47788/HKAQ8861
    3. Challenging the Stigma of a ‘Woman’s Illness’ and ‘Feminine Problem’: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of News Stories About Eating Disorders and Men Scott Parrott, Kimberly Bissell, Nicholas Eckhart and Bumsoo Park
    DOI: 10.47788/LXVK2554
    4. Representations of Anorexia Nervosa in National Media: A Frame Analysis of the UK Press Matt Bowen and Rhian Waller
    DOI: 10.47788/UBYL4471
    5. Representations of Eating Disorders in Turkish News Media Hayriye Gulec
    DOI: 10.47788/UPWL9354
    6. Experiencing Newspaper Representations of Eating Disorders: An Interpretative Phenomenological Study Laura A. Cariola and Billy Lee
    DOI: 10.47788/XATI1798
    7. Narrative Experiences of Social Media and the Internet from Men with Eating Disorders Gareth Lyons, Sue McAndrew and Tony Warne
    DOI: 10.47788/DBCF4677

    Part II Participatory Media and User-Generated Discourse

    8. Online Negative Enabling Support Group (ONESG) Theory: Understanding Online Extreme Community Communication Promoting Negative Health Behaviours Stephen M. Haas, Nancy A. Jennings and Pamara F. Chang
    DOI: 10.47788/PISN2308
    9. Eating Disorder Discourse in a Diet and Fitness App Community: Understanding User Needs Through Exploratory Mixed Methods Elizabeth V. Eikey, Oliver Golden, Zhuoxi Chen and Qiuer Chen
    DOI: 10.47788/DCZA4511
    10. Using Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Approaches to Investigate Online Communication About Eating Disorders: A Reflective Account Dawn Branley-Bell
    DOI: 10.47788/QSFW4482
    11. ‘I’ll Never Be Skinny Enough’: A Fantasy Theme Analysis of Pro-Anorexia Discourse Allyn Lueders
    DOI: 10.47788/SDQF1133
    12. Lived Experiences of Parents Raising Children with Eating Disorders: A Thematic Analysis Emma O’Rourke and Laura A. Cariola
    DOI: 10.47788/MMRH9260
    13. ‘Anorexia is Seen as a GOOD Thing When You’re Fat!’: Constructing ‘Eating Disorders’ in Fat Acceptance Blogs Wendy Solomons, Kate Davenport and Joanne McDowell
    DOI: 10.47788/UHLM5757


    Dr Laura A. Cariola is lecturer in Applied Psychology, in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, at the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh, with specialisms in both Applied Linguistics and Psychology. She is a chartered member of the British Psychological Society: Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology; and Division of Counselling Psychology.

      • 362 Pages