Knowledge and perceptions of eating disorders among young adult university students in Brunei Darussalam: A qualitative study.


Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Jalan Tungku Link, Gadong, BE 1410 Brunei Darussalam



Introduction: Eating disorders are very well reported in western societies. However, prevalence of eating disorders among Asians is on the rise. This study aims to explore the knowledge and perceptions of young adults regarding eating disorders in Brunei Darussalam. Materials & Methods: A qualitative study through four focus groups was conducted with 23 young adults from Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Participants were recruited through open meetings. Transcribed audio data were analysed under the guidance of thematic analysis. Results: Five key themes were identified. 1) Brunei university students have some ‘understanding about eating disorders’ however it is most associated with obesity; 2) ‘awareness about eating disorders’ explores the participant’s knowledge on the psychological causes and complications; 3)‘maintaining body image’ describes the vulnerability of women and teenagers to eating disorders; 4) ‘affluent Brunei Society’ describes how living in abundance can influence individual’s perspectives on eating disorders; and 5)‘taking stock on services’ illustrates the services and facilities available in Brunei. Conclusions: Young adult university students, living in an affluent society like Brunei, have limited awareness on eating disorders and the services available. Community based mental health interventions should be increased, as there is a possibility of eating disorder being a serious health issue in the near future.


Keywords: Anorexia, Bulimia, Brunei Darussalam, Obesity, Qualitative study.


Correspondence: Ya Chee Lim, Lecturer, PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Telephone number: +673 246 0922 ext 2218. Fax number: +673 246 3062. Email:


Brunei Int Med J. 2017; 13 (6): 194-204