Loneliness and eating disorders

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162 Scopus citations


This article examines the link between loneliness and eating disorders. This concept is evaluated through a systematic review of the literature that links loneliness and eating disorders and through a survey of themes connecting the 2 conditions. Eating disorders - including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders that are not otherwise specified, which include binge eating disorder - are challenging health issues. Each of these diagnoses specifically relates to loneliness. This negative emotion contributes to and fuels eating disorder symptoms. Negative interpersonal relationships, both real experiences and individuals skewed perceptions, exacerbate eating disorders and feelings of loneliness. Characteristics that have been associated with loneliness clearly relate to eating disorders. Understanding this relationship is vital, so that we can appreciate our patients struggles and work to target these intense emotions within the treatment setting. We need to be aware of the power of loneliness as it applies to individuals in general and specifically to those struggling with disordered eating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-257
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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