Emily Troscianko's Knowledge Exchange Fellowship with the charity Beat has generated a journal article in the open-access Journal of Eating Disorders, presenting the findings from the online study conducted during the collaboration. The paper presents a clear and counterintuitive finding: that for people with an eating disorder, reading fiction about eating disorders is usually perceived as strongly detrimental to health on all the dimensions reported (mood, self-esteem, feelings about your body, and diet and exercise habits). Reading one's preferred type of other fiction, by contrast, was reported to be mostly neutral or positive, especially for mood. This has important implications for theories of 'bibliotherapy', as well as for our understanding of 'triggering' and other adverse effects of engaging with textual material.
The full text of 'Literary reading and eating disorders: Survey evidence of therapeutic help and harm' is available here.