Workforce Diversity in Eating Disorders: A Multi-Methods Study

Karen Jennings Mathis*, Carolina Anaya, Betty Rambur, Lindsay P. Bodell, Andrea K. Graham, K. Jean Forney, Seeba Anam, Jennifer E. Wildes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Despite growing recognition of the importance of workforce diversity in health care, limited research has explored diversity among eating disorder (ED) professionals globally. This multi-methods study examined diversity across demographic and professional variables. Participants were recruited from ED and discipline-specific professional organizations. Participants’ (n = 512) mean age was 41.1 years (SD = 12.5); 89.6% (n=459) of participants identified as women, 84.1% (n = 419) as heterosexual/straight, and 73.0% (n = 365) as White. Mean years working in EDs was 10.7 years (SD = 9.2). Qualitative analysis revealed three themes resulting in a theoretical framework to address barriers to increasing diversity. Perceived barriers were the following: “stigma, bias, stereotypes, myths”; “field of eating disorders pipeline”; and “homogeneity of the existing field.” Findings suggest limited workforce diversity within and across nations. The theoretical model suggests a need for focused attention to the educational pipeline, workforce homogeneity, and false assumptions about EDs, and it should be tested to evaluate its utility within the EDs field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1068-1077
Number of pages10
JournalWestern Journal of Nursing Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • barriers
  • diversity
  • eating disorders
  • framework
  • workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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