Stigmatization and attitudes toward eating disorders: a comparison between native German adolescents, Turkish immigrant adolescents in Germany, and native Turkish adolescents

Feldhege J. M., GÜLEÇ PAP H., Moessner M., Stieler C., van Stipelen J., Bauer S.

JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH, vol.31, no.1, pp.99-108, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09638237.2021.1979484
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, CINAHL, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, MEDLINE, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.99-108
  • Keywords: Stigma of eating disorders, mental health literacy, eating disorders, bulimia nervosa, causal beliefs, MENTAL-HEALTH LITERACY, ANOREXIA-NERVOSA, BULIMIA-NERVOSA, HELP-SEEKING, RISK-FACTORS, BELIEFS, PREVALENCE, COMMUNITY, WOMEN, PEOPLE
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Background and aims The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes toward eating disorders in native German adolescents (Germans), adolescents with Turkish migration background in Germany (Immigrants), and native Turkish adolescents (Turks). Method A total of 507 adolescents (N = 139 Germans; N = 126 Immigrants; N = 242 Turks) read a vignette describing a 16-year-old female with bulimic symptoms. Participants completed questionnaires on mental health literacy, stigmatization, desirability of eating disorder-related behaviors and acquaintance with bulimic symptoms. Results Adolescents living in Germany were more likely to recognize the vignette as an eating disorder than Turks. Immigrants were more similar to Germans in mental health literacy of eating disorders than Turks. However, in terms of stigmatizing attitudes, immigrants blamed more than Germans, Turks being intermediate on this variable. In Turks, higher desirability of eating disorder-related behaviors was associated with an increased acquaintance with bulimic symptoms and decreased evaluations of impairment. Higher mental health literacy was associated with less blame in Germans. Conclusions Migration background was associated with increased mental health literacy of eating disorders but did not result in reduced stigma. Differences in attitudes toward eating disorders indicate the need for differential interventions across the groups.