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Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2009 May;17(3):214-9. doi: 10.1002/erv.910.

Viewership of pro-anorexia websites in seventh, ninth and eleventh graders.

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  • 1Leuven School for Mass Communication Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Parkstraat, Leuven, Belgium.



To examine the prevalence of visiting pro-anorexia websites by 13-, 15- and 17-year old adolescents and to explore correlates of visiting such websites and predictors of anorexia nervosa (AN).


Questionnaire in a sample of 711 secondary school children from the 7th, 9th and 11th grade in Flanders, Belgium.


12.6% of the girls and 5.9% of the boys had visited such websites. In girls, visiting pro-anorexia websites was associated with a higher drive for thinness, worse perception of appearance and more perfectionism.


The prevalence of visiting pro-anorexia sites is non-trivial and the significant correlations between viewership of pro-ana sites and predictors of AN suggest a potential for negative impact of exposure to pro-ana sites. We conclude with some speculative remarks on the potential threat of the existence of pro-ana sites to organized health care.

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