Eating Disorders (ED) and image of the self: A possible tool for ED assesment

Self-figure drawings in women with anorexia; bulimia; overweight; and normal weight: A possible tool for assessment.
Jonathan Guez, Rachel Lev-Wiesel, Shimrit Valetsky, Diego K. Sztul, Bat-Sheva Pener
Haifa, Israel

The Arts in Psychotherapy (15 September 2010) doi:10.1016/j.aip.2010.09.001 Key: citeulike:7886958

Eating disorders (ED) are an increasing problem in children and young adolescents. This paper examines the use of self- figure drawing in the assessment of eating disorders. We combined the use of self- figure drawing as a short and non intrusive tool with the administration of previously validated questionnaires (EAT-26 and the BSQ). Seventy-six women (Thirty-six were diagnosed as having eating disorders according to DSM-IV criteria, either anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, 20 were overweight, 20 had no eating disorders and were of normal weight) were recruited for this study. Objective and quantifiable methods of assessment in analysis the self-figure drawing were used. The results indicated that self-figure drawing scores were clearly differentiated between groups. The results also indicated significantly high correlation between the self-figure drawing and the two validated psychometric assessments of eating disorders. The findings’ implications and possible interpretations are discussed. Findings indicate that using self-figure drawing as a tool to assess ED or a tendency to develop ED would be valuable for practitioners.

The neck: women suffering from anorexia or bulimia tended to draw a larger neck, a disconnected neck or no neck at all;
The mouth: this feature was more emphasized in drawings by women suffering from anorexia or bulimia;
The thighs: women with eating disorders drew wider thighs than the other groups in the study;
The feet: women with eating disorders tended to draw pictures without feet or with disconnected feet.

Self-figure drawings can differentiate between anorexic and bulimic women: those with anorexia tended to omit breasts from their drawings, drew less defined body lines and smaller figures relative to the page size


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