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Bulimia Nervosa: The Diana Effect Essay

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The Diana Effect provides a compelling case study of how cultural influences can elevate
general public and clinical awareness around a particular issue-in this case, the eating disorder
(ED) bulimia nervosa (BN) in the United Kingdom between 1988 and 2000-particularly between
1992 to 1997. Evidence ofthe Diana Effect are witnessed in an unprecedented (and since
unrepeated) trifold rise in the rate of reported bulimia incidences in the UK, significantly paralleling
the trajectory of Princess Diana's relationship with the public surrounding her personal battle with
bulimia. Moreover, the surge in rate of bulimia incidences in the UK peaked in 1996, declining each
year following 1997, the year in which Princess Diana died.
By publically sharing her private struggle and recovery process with bulimia nervosa,
Princess Diana provided a personal narrative for a disorder previously reserved primarily to
diagnostic deliberations and clinical analysis; she served as a source of support and advocacy for
many sufferers who sought help. Particularly in the UK where it was most publicized, Princess
Diana's public presence and advocacy helped to destigmatize bulimia nervosa-effectively serving
to advance general understanding and promote seeking medical treatment for the disease.
1 The American Psychiatric Association. "Homosexuality and Sexual Disturbance: Proposed Changes."
(Dec. 1973) Position paper p. 1.
Kump2
II. Bulimia Nervosa: A "problematic" diagnosis
Like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bulimia nervosa (BN) is a relatively new
medical diagnosis. While anorexia and bulimia were first introduced as medical terms to the DSM
in 1980, anorexia has been referenced throughout British history (as early as 1689 by English
physician Rich...


... middle of paper ...


...cember 4, 2013, from the Taylor & Francis
database.
Shepherd, Emily, & Seale, Clive. (2010, May 31). Eating Disorders In The Media: The Changing
Nature OfUK Newspaper Reports. European Eating Disorders Review, 18(6), 486-495.
Speech given by Diana, Princess of Wales on "Eating Disorders." (1993, April27). Retrieved
January 12, 2013, from on-eating -disorders/>
Turnbull, S., Ward, A., Treasure, J., Jick, H., & Derby, L. (1996). The Demand for Eating Disorder
Care: An Epidemiological Study Using the General Practice Research Database. The British
Journal of Psychiatry, 169,705-712. Retrieved December 20,2013, from The Royal
College of Psychiatrists database.
Williams, Tryst. (2005, February 1). The Secret Diana Effect. Western Mail, p. 2. Retrieved
December 4, 2013, from the LexisNexis Academic database.



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