Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors


Psychological Science

First Advisor

Antonio Cepeda-Benito


pro-ana, engagement, media, exposure, anorexia nervosa, eating disorder, admire, desire, attitudes, EDE-Q


The current study investigates the extent to which UVM students are aware of and visit “pro-anaonline communities (websites that promote anorexia-like thinness [AN-thinness]). The study also evaluates the relationship between engagement with pro-ana websites, eating disorder (ED) symptoms, and positive attitudes related to AN-thinness and the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (AN). The participants were 104 women enrolled at the University of Vermont who volunteered to complete an online survey in exchange for extra credit points towards their psychology courses. More than half (52%) of the participants had previous knowledge of pro-ana websites and almost one fifth (18%) had visited a pro-ana website in the past. Bivariate correlational analyses revealed that BMI was positively correlated with weight concern and shape concern, but was not associated with eating restraint, eating concern, or opinions about AN and/or AN-thinness. There was also a significant positive correlation between ED symptomatology and positive attitudes toward AN and/or AN-thinness. Univariate analyses of variance (MANOVAs) revealed that participants who reported greater engagement with pro-ana websites also reported greater ED symptoms, as well as greater positive attitudes toward AN and AN-thinness. The findings suggest that exposure to pro-ana communities may contribute to the development and severity of EDs.