Attitudes towards eating disorders clinicians with personal experience of an eating disorder

Rachel Bachner-Melman* (Corresponding Author), Jan A. de Vos, Ada H. Zohar, Michal Shalom, Beth McGilley, Kielty Oberlin, Leslie Murray, Andrea Lamarre, Suzanne Dooley-Hash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This study explores the perspectives and opinions towards ED clinicians with lived experience of ED. Methods: Three hundred and eighty-five ED clinicians and 124 non-clinicians from 13 countries, between 18 and 76 years of age completed an online survey about attitudes towards ED clinicians with a personal ED history. Almost half the respondents (n = 242, 47.5%) reported a lifetime ED diagnosis. Survey items included ten multiple-choice and three open questions about clinician disclosure, employer hiring practices, and perceived advantages and disadvantages of clinicians with a personal ED history practicing in the ED field. Multiple-choice responses from clinicians with and without a personal ED history were compared with responses from non-clinicians with and without a personal ED history. Open questions were examined using thematic analysis. Results: Clinicians with no ED history, whose responses often differed from both ED-history groups (clinicians and non-clinicians), were more likely to indicate that clinicians with an ED should not generally treat ED patients, and that clinicians should self-disclose their ED history to employers but not to their patients. Thematic analysis of the open-ended questions revealed that advantages of having clinicians with an ED history include a deep experiential understanding and the ability to be empathic and non-judgmental, whereas disadvantages include the lack of objectivity and the risk of clinicians being triggered. Conclusion: Further research informing guidelines for ED clinicians with a personal ED history, their colleagues and employers are needed to protect and empower the significant minority of ED professionals with “lived experience” of EDs. Level of evidence: Level III, case-control analytic study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1881–1891
Number of pages11
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number6
Early online date12 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Attitudes
  • Clinicians
  • Eating disorders
  • Lived experience
  • Non-clinicians
  • Personal history
  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • 22/2 OA procedure


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