An examination of social group memberships in patients with eating disorders, carers, and healthy controls

Katie Rowlands*, Daniel Willmott, Valentina Cardi, Danielle Clark Bryan, Tegan Cruwys, Janet Treasure

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study compared the quantity and quality of social group memberships in patients with anorexia nervosa (n = 30), carers of patients with anorexia nervosa, unrelated to those patients (n = 30), and two cohorts of healthy controls (n = 60) age-matched to these focal groups. A secondary aim was to examine the associations between the quality of group relationships and severity of eating disorder and depression symptoms in patients; and depression symptoms in carers. Participants completed the online Social Identity Mapping Tool, which was used to measure the quantity and quality of social group memberships (e.g., number of social groups, number of groups rated ‘highly positive’). Participants also completed self-report measures of clinical symptoms. Compared to controls, patients reported fewer social groups when eating disorder-related groups were included, and significantly fewer social groups, and community groups in particular, when eating disorder-related groups were excluded. Number of positive groups was negatively associated with severity of eating disorder and depression symptoms in patients when eating disorder-related groups were excluded. Carers reported fewer groups overall, fewer family groups, and fewer positive and supportive groups compared to healthy controls. There was a weak association between the number of positive groups and the severity of depression symptoms in carers. Positive group memberships might play a protective role towards developing more severe eating disorder and depression symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-743
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Keywords

  • anorexia nervosa
  • carers
  • group memberships
  • social identity mapping

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