Eating Disorders Literacy: Youth’s Beliefs Related to Mental Health First Aid


  • Azadeh Sayarifard Associate Professor, Community Based Participatory Research Center, Iranian Institute for Reduction of High-Risk Behaviors, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran AND Psychosomatic Researcher, Psychosomatic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
  • Maryam Nazari MA in Health Services Management, Center for Academic and Health Policy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Maryam Mohseni Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran AND Psychosomatic Researcher, Psychosomatic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
  • Hamid Afshar-Zanjani Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine AND Psychosomatic Research Center, Khorshid Hospital, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
  • Farzad Goli Professor, Faculty Instructor, Energy Medicine University, California, USA AND Denesh-e Tandorosti Institute, Isfahan, Iran
  • Parastoo Amiri Community Medicine Specialist, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran AND Psychosomatic Researcher, Psychosomatic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
  • Fakhri Alsadat Khalifeh-Soltani PhD Student, Department of Health Psychology AND Behavioral Sciences Research Center AND Psychosomatic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: One of the community-based interventions for increasing mental health literacy is mental health first aid (MHFA) training. The current study measured literacy regarding MHFA for eating disorders (EDs) among the youth and adolescents.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed on those aged 16-29 years in Tehran, Iran. The sample size was 252 individuals. For data gathering, the Mental Health Literacy Questionnaire (MHLQ)‎ was used that was modified for EDs. The validity and reliability of the Persian version of the MHLQ‎ was confirmed. Data were analyzed using SPSS software. To determine the demographic variables that can predict participants' literacy concerning EDs, logistic regression analysis was used.

Results: Among the participants, 11.5 could successfully diagnose EDs, 34.5 were not at all confident in their ability to help, and 36.95 said they would not seek help if faced with a similar problem. Most of the participants selected “obtaining more information about the problems described in the ‎vignette and available services” and “listening to the problems of the ‎vignette character in an understanding way” as the correct first aid interventions. Family and friends were mentioned as the main influential people. Higher education could significantly predict the ability to correctly diagnose the disorder (P = 0.03) and help-seeking behavior (P = 0.002). Only relatives' history of exposure to the problems described in the vignette could significantly predict higher scores in diagnosing suitable first aid (P = 0.02).

Conclusion: In general, mental health literacy regarding EDs was not suitable among the participants of this study. Thus, it seems necessary to consider targeted MHFA training, particularly in the field of EDs, to provide training in an understandable language to the community and with emphasis on seeking professional services.


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How to Cite

Sayarifard, A., Nazari, M., Mohseni, M. ., Afshar-Zanjani, H., Goli, F. ., Amiri, P., & Khalifeh-Soltani, F. A. (2020). Eating Disorders Literacy: Youth’s Beliefs Related to Mental Health First Aid. International Journal of Body, Mind and Culture, 7(4), 214-227. Retrieved from



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