Emma Haag

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Lori Gano-Overway

Degree Award Date

Spring 2013


eating disorders, treatment, perceptions of treatment, convenience sample, students, small liberal arts college


Diagnosis | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Medicine and Health Sciences | Therapeutics


Recognition of risk for eating disorders and perceptions of treatment were examined in a convenience sample of students from a small liberal arts college. The effects of gender, major, and year in school on recognition were analyzed, as well as possession or not of an eating disorder on the effectiveness of various types of treatment and individuals commonly sought for treatment of eating disorders. Participants (n = 279) completed an online survey assessing perceived risk, extreme dieting behaviors, and treatment options for eating disorders. Most students were not at risk for an eating disorder and no males were at risk; however, of the 29 females who were at risk, 32% recognized their risk for an eating disorder, while 68% did not recognize their risk. Major and year in school did not have a significant effect on recognition scores. Most common types of treatment sought for eating disorders included exercise (n =15), individual therapy (n = 11), and weight loss programs (n = 7). Individuals most likely to be sought for treatment for those with eating disorders included professionals with personal recovery (30%), general practitioners (20%), and counselor/social workers (20%). Among those without eating disorders, family member (27%), friend (25%), and psychologist (12%) were most common. Findings from this study suggest the need for increased awareness among students, as well as family members, friends, and health professionals, about how to identify eating disorders and the appropriateness of various types of treatment.