Interactions on Facebook could affect eating disorder (ED) patients’ recovery and potential for relapse, a recent study found. Researchers examined data from online surveys completed by individuals (n=415, mean age 28.15 years ± 8.41; 98.1% female) who self-reported receipt of ED treatment in a group setting. They found:
• Participants reported having an average of 10 to 19 Facebook friends from treatment and spending up to 30 minutes per day interacting with them or ED-related organizations.
• More comparison to treatment peers on Facebook was associated with greater ED psychopathology and ED-related impairment.
• Conversely, positive interaction with treatment peers on Facebook was associated with lower ED psychopathology and ED-related impairment.
• Individuals who had been in treatment longer, more times, and more recently had more Facebook friends from treatment and ED-related organizations; they also spent more time on ED groups’ pages on Facebook.
Saffran K, Fitzsimmons-Craft EE, Kass AE, Wilfley DE, Taylor CB, Trockel M. Facebook usage among those who have received treatment for an eating disorder in a group setting. [Published online ahead of print June 15, 2016]. Int J Eat Disord. doi:10.1002/eat.22567.