School counselors’ knowledge of eating disorders
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- Harshbarger, J.L., Ahlers-Schmidt, C.R., Atif, M. et al. Eat Weight Disord (2011) 16: e131. doi:10.1007/BF03325319
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BACKGROUND: Twenty years ago, Price published a survey identifying knowledge deficits of school counselors regarding eating disorders. Our study surveys current school counselors to determine whether knowledge has increased and determine the availability of school-based prevention programming. METHODS: School counselors from a single metropolitan area were surveyed prior to a mandatory in-service on eating disorders. RESULTS: Of the 109 respondents, 55% felt eating disorders were a problem in their school. Very few felt “very competent” identifying (6%) or helping (2%) students with eating disorders. Today’s school counselors were more likely to know a symptom of anorexia nervosa (AN) is missing at least three consecutive menstrual cycles and malnutrition is not a common cause of death for bulimia nervosa (BN). CONCLUSIONS: While knowledge of AN and BN appear to have increased, school counselors still lack some basic understanding and report very low confidence in identifying and helping students with eating disorders.