Self-Drawings May Reveal Hidden Eating
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The way women draw
themselves may help reveal whether they have an eating disorder,
They found that women with anorexia or bulimia draw themselves
with different characteristics than women without eating
The study, by Israeli researchers, included 36 women with
anorexia or bulimia and 40 women with no eating disorder, half of
them overweight and half normal weight. The women were asked to
draw themselves, and the researchers found various differences
between the groups in four areas:
- Women with anorexia or bulimia tended to portray themselves
with a larger neck, a disconnected neck or no neck.
- The mouth was more emphasized by women with anorexia or
- Depictions of wider thighs were more common among participants
with eating disorders.
- Women with anorexia or bulimia tended to draw pictures without
feet or with disconnected feet.
The researchers also found that among women with eating
disorders, those with anorexia were more likely than those with
bulimia to omit breasts from their drawings, to sketch less defined
body lines and to portray smaller figures in relation to the page
The study, published in the
Arts in Psychotherapy, shows "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," co-author Rachel Lev-Wiesel, head of the Graduate School of Creative Art Therapies at the University of Haifa, said in a university news release.
"Women suffering from eating disorders usually tend to hide their condition, even from their professional therapists," she explained. "They often find it difficult to talk about their problems, so a non-verbal and non-intrusive tool such as a simple request for a self-figure drawing can become an important tool in creative art therapy."
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
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