PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to examine recent nursing textbooks’ portrayal of gender, weight, and diagnosis in eating disorder exemplars, and compare the textbook presentation to prevalence rates as published within the textbooks themselves.
CONTEXT: Eating disorders are often portrayed as afflicting underweight women with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. Demographics of people outside this stereotype face health disparities in illness recognition and treatment. Passive exposure to information on eating disorders can reduce stereotypical beliefs among nursing students, which has the potential to improve patient care.
METHOD: Case studies, practice questions, vignettes, and care plans from eight psychiatric nursing textbooks were analyzed for portrayal of the three research variables.
DATA and RESULTS: Men were not significantly underrepresented in the exemplars. Transgender clients, clients of normal or overweight status, and clients with diagnoses other than anorexia nervosa were significantly underrepresented from eating disorder exemplars.
CONCLUSION: Textbooks should be adjusted to include more exemplars from underrepresented demographics of clients with eating disorders.
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