In this webinar, Rachel W. Goode, Ph.D., Charlynn Small, Ph.D. & Mazella Fuller, Ph.D. present on Eating Disorder Risk and Strategies During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some key points are highlighted in the below summary:

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder across racial and ethnic groups, impacting an estimated 2.8 million people in the United States. The experience of poverty may increase disordered eating; previous research highlights how experiencing food insecurity may significantly increase eating disorder pathology. Social isolation, media exposure, racism, trauma, and lack of emotional support are also observed to increase the risk for eating disorder symptoms. COVID-19 has also contributed to increasing the risk for these concerns.

The pandemic has also exacerbated disparities in treatment. Previous research reports that patients may not seeking help because of financial reasons, lack of resources such as insurance and transportation, and fear of being labeled, discriminated against, or shamed. In the future, it will be important to remember cultural factors impact every aspect of mental health care, and clinicians will need to conduct assessments with attention to race and ethnicity. During COVID-19, clinicians have had to adjust their treatment strategies due to the remote setting. The presenters discuss the implications of not seeing patients face-to-face and the challenges for treatment. In addition, various treatment strategies are reviewed, including culturally-informed assessments and a harm reduction approach, a strategy commonly used patients managing addiction, for ED management during COVID-19. Finally, the presenters suggest ways to improve access to in-person and online self-care resources.


Goode, R.W., Small, C., & Fuller M. (February 22, 2021). Eating disorder risks and strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic [Webinar]. UNC School of Social Work Clinical Lecture series.

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