Home/Eating Disorders/Women with eating disorders draw a different picture of themselves than women without, study suggests

Women with eating disorders draw a different picture of themselves than women without, study suggests

ScienceDaily (2011-02-13) — Women suffering from anorexia or bulimia draw themselves with prominently different characteristics than women who do not have eating disorders and who are considered of normal weight, suggests a new study.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110214102124.htm

Left: Self-image drawing by a woman with anorexia; Middle: Self-image drawing by a woman suffering from bulimia; Right: Self-image drawing by a woman of normal weight. (Credit: Image courtesy of ScienceDaily.com/University of Haifa)

“The results of this study show that women suffering or prone to developing eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, can be diagnosed with a simple and non-intrusive self-figure drawing assessment,” explained Prof. Rachel Lev-Wiesel, Head of the Graduate School of Creative Art Therapies at the university of Haifa and a co-author of the study.

The research, conducted by Prof. Lev-Wiesel alongside Dr. Jonathan Guez, Shimrit Valetsky, Dr. Diego Kruszewski Sztul and Dr. Bat-Sheva Pener, examined 76 women, 36 of whom had been diagnosed as anorexic or bulimic; 20 had no eating disorders but were overweight, and 20 had no eating disorders and were considered normal weight. Each of the participants completed two standardized questionnaires for screening eating disorders and were then asked to draw themselves. Besides being asked to draw themselves, no guidelines or limitations were set for the drawing.

The research team then evaluated the drawings and found various differences between the groups in four aspects:

* 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.

I don’t agree with the Lev-Wiesel’s comment that eating disorders “can be diagnosed with a simple and non-intrusive self-figure drawing assessment”, but I do think the drawing assessment could be part of a more thorough diagnostic evaluation.

By | 2016-11-20T07:53:46+00:00 February 15th, 2011|Categories: Eating Disorders|Tags: , , |1 Comment

About the Author:

Dr. Stephanie Sarkis is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), and AMHCA Diplomate and Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Counseling based in Tampa Bay, Florida, where she specializes in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. Dr. Sarkis conducts evaluations, testing, diagnosis, and counseling services. She also is a public speaker, consultant, coach, and is a facilitator in collaborative law.

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