The presentation of "pro-anorexia" in online group interactions

Jeffrey Gavin, Karen Rodham, H Poyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Citations (SciVal)


Although pro-anorexia online support forums and the narratives that occur within them are increasingly the focus of research, none, to date, focuses closely on issues of identity within this online context. Our aim in conducting this study was to examine the presentation of pro-anorexia via an interpretive phenomenological analysis of postings to a pro-anorexia ("pro-ana") online discussion forum. Analysis indicates that pro-anorexic identities are normalized and strengthened through the normalization of participants' pro-ana thoughts and behaviors, and the group bond created through sharing a secret identity. This process renders participants less likely to reveal their pro-ana identity to friends and family in the real world. The implications of our findings are discussed in relation to the theory of identity demarginalization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-333
Number of pages9
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


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