Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 39 pages) : color illustration.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Julia M Hormes

Committee Members

Drew Anderson


Eating disorders, Medical personnel, Compulsive behavior, Food habits

Subject Categories

Psychiatric and Mental Health


Purpose: The current study aimed to investigate United States (U.S.) health professionals’ perspectives on if and how Orthorexia nervosa (ON) should be classified, replicating and expanding upon a previous study in a U.S. sample. Method: Participants (n=100) were U.S. health professionals with experience working clinically with eating disorders, including trainees, Ph.D. psychologists, social workers and master’s level clinicians, and medical health professionals. After reviewing the proposed ON criteria, participants responded to questions regarding the clinical utility of ON, diagnosis and measurement of the proposed condition, and sociocultural influence on the emergence of ON. Views of ON as a useful diagnostic category were examined as a function of participants’ training and current involvement in clinical versus research activities. Results: A majority of participants (71.9%) indicated agreement with the statement that ON should be a distinct clinical diagnosis in the upcoming iteration of the DSM. The health professionals who endorsed ON as a diagnosis spent significantly more time on clinical work and significantly less time engaged in research compared to participants who disagreed (both ps <.05). Participants agreed that sociocultural factors have considerable influence on the development of ON, and there was a significant positive correlation between respondents’ time allocated to clinical work and perceived sociocultural influence on ON (p <.05).  Conclusion: The perspectives of U.S. health professionals regarding ON differed as a function of their current involvement in clinical versus research activities. Professionals who spent more time working clinically with eating disorders were more likely to endorse ON as a unique disorder, and professionals who spent more time on research were more likely to disagree. To the extent that professionals who spend more time on research shape the narrative around ON more visibly through publications, this study underscores the importance of listening to practitioners' experiences in applied settings.