Doing weight: pro-ana and recovery identities in cyberspace

Sarah Riley, Karen Rodham, Jeffrey Gavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (SciVal)


This paper explores the role of online body talk (text-based communication about bodies and bodily experiences) in the management, negotiation and development of eating disorder related identities. Two anorexia related Internet discussion forums (a pro-ana and a recovery website) were analyzed through the means of discourse analysis. The analysis focused on the type of body-talk produced in the different sites and the functions of this talk in relation to eating disorder related identities. Three forms of body talk were identified: descriptions of doing something with the body; descriptions of the body and descriptions of bodily experiences. On both sites these forms of body talk reproduced the thin ideal; demonstrated valid claims of group membership; and, for the pro-ana group, dynamically (re)produced eating disorder related identities through the reframing of health/appearance concerns as markers of success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-359
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date20 Aug 2009
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


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