Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access



First Advisor

Catherine Walker




weight, race, anorexia nervosa, atypical anorexia nervosa, stigma


Objective: This study examined how weight and race impact stigma, perceived need for treatment, and perceived severity of the condition for individuals with anorexia nervosa. Method: Four hundred eighty-one participants were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk; 311 were used in analysis. Participants completed two scales (RIBS and CAMI) that measured previous exposure to mental illness. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five conditions in which they read a passage (vignette) about a White or Black woman with anorexia nervosa (underweight), atypical anorexia nervosa (overweight) or major depressive disorder (control condition). Participants completed three post-vignette scales that assessed stigma toward the woman in the vignette, perceived need for treatment and perceived severity of the condition, and fat-phobia beliefs. Results: Two separate linear regressions were run to examine the effect of the demographic characteristics of the participants on the items that measured stigma (stigma assessment) and perceived need for treatment and perceived severity of the disorder (mental health literacy scale). Post-hoc MANOVAs were run with the significant demographic variables as covariates alongside the RIBS, CAMI, and Fat Phobia scales; vignette weight and race were assessed as independent variables and the stigma assessment and mental health literacy scale were assessed as dependent variables. Neither analyses yielded significant results for Vignette Weight, Vignette Race, or for Vignette Weight x Vignette Race. The BMI of participants had a significant effect on the stigma assessment and mental health literacy scales, and education level had a significant effect on the mental health literacy scale. Discussion: Future research should examine how other factors or identities (such as gender and sexual orientation) impact stigma and perceptions of eating disorder severity. Future research should extend the current study by using different study designs and providing participants with visual stimuli. The current study has important implications for the diagnosis and treatment of anorexia nervosa.

Available for download on Monday, June 30, 2025


Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.