Emotional first aid in eating disorders: The unique role of hotlines and online services

Itzhak Gilat, Yael Latzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Over the last five decades, volunteer-based hotlines and online services have become an attractive source of emotional first aid. This chapter examines the unique role that these services play for individuals who suffer from eating disorders (ED), particularly anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The theoretical advantages of hotlines and online services for ED clients are presented, stressing the fact that they exact a lower psychological price from the clients than professional sources of help. The therapeutic potential of these services for ED patients is demonstrated by means of empirical studies on the characteristics of calls to the hotlines, and the analyses of two online interactions representing two types of assistance that hotlines and online services offer ED patients: paving the way to professional therapy for those who shy away from it, and offering patients who do undergo treatment a supportive environment. The evidence leads to the conclusion that the role played by hotlines and online services complements professional sources.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBio-Psycho-Social Contributions to Understanding Eating Disorders
EditorsY. Latzer, D. Stein
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319327426
ISBN (Print)9783319327402
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


  • Eating disorders
  • Hotline
  • Internet
  • Online counseling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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