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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 74-77

Eating disorders research in India: A bibliometric assessment of publications output during 2000–2019

1 Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission13-Sep-2020
Date of Decision10-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance27-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Jul-2021

Correspondence Address:
Sandeep Grover
Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_145_20

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Aim: The paper examines quantitative and qualitative dimensions of India's research output on Eating Disorders. Methodology: Scopus database was searched for the publications on eating Disorder from India during the years 2000 to 2019, and then the articles were screened to select the relevant articles. Results: The study included 132 publications. India's cumulative research in this area registered 328% absolute growth and averaged 6.87 citations per paper. The distribution of output by type of research revealed that anorexia nervosa and pica (31.82% and 28.79% share) contributed the largest shares of publications on eating disorders during 2000–2019. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru; and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, lead the country as the most productive organizations (with 14, 11, and 7 papers each). Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine and Indian Journal of Pediatrics formed the most common journals publishing research on eating disorder, with largest contribution of 9 papers each. Conclusion: There is meager research on eating disorders from India.

Keywords: Bibliometrics, eating disorders, Indian publications, scientometrics

How to cite this article:
Grover S, Gupta B M. Eating disorders research in India: A bibliometric assessment of publications output during 2000–2019. J Mental Health Hum Behav 2021;26:74-7

How to cite this URL:
Grover S, Gupta B M. Eating disorders research in India: A bibliometric assessment of publications output during 2000–2019. J Mental Health Hum Behav [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Mar 29];26:74-7. Available from: https://www.jmhhb.org/text.asp?2021/26/1/74/322816

  Introduction Top

Eating disorders (EDs) are marked by severe disturbances to a person's eating behaviors. These disorders are characterized by preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape. EDs at times can be life-threatening, due to medical complications arising due to malnutrition.[1],[2] The causes of ED are not clear, although both biological and environmental factors have been found to play a role.[1],[3] In general, it is considered that the prevalence of ED is influenced by the Western culture and importance given to thinness. In India, the occurrence of ED was not reported until the late 20th century.[4] Perhaps, media-related glorification of “size zero” body type and culturally sanctioned drive for thinness, body shaming, and dissatisfaction have contributed to the recent reporting of ED from India.[5],[6],[7] However, the research on ED from India is limited.

There are different ways of understanding the research output on a particular disorder or disease, and this can include systematic review with or without metanalysis, narrative reviews, and bibliometric/scientometric evaluation of data. This can be done for the whole literature or country-specific data. Bibliometric methods offer a practical and impartial way to estimate publication profiles of researchers, research groups, and output from a country in different disciplines. These methods can be used as an evaluation instrument in research together with other methods, such as expert opinions and panels.[8]

Only few studies across the globe have evaluated the research output on ED using scientometric methods. One study evaluated the growth and evolution of multiauthor collaborations and their correlation with publication trends on ED during 1980–2014. This study used bibliometric techniques and graph theory to analyze and identify coauthorship and social network patterns.[9] In another study, the authors analyzed the profile of cross-cultural studies (1417 articles) on ED, published during 1970–2011, identified using the Medline and PsycINFO databases. The authors reported that the most common type of publications included comparative and empirical studies, and in most of the publications, ethnic groups such as Africans and African–Americans were studied. Only a small number of publications focused on Pacific Islanders and South Europeans.[10] Another study evaluated the first and last author's gender in ED research during 1997–2016 published in ED specialty journals, high-impact psychiatry journals and high-impact clinical psychology journals. It was seen that the female authorship increased in both specialty journals and high-impact psychiatry journals. However, females were less likely to be a author in high impact psychiatry and clinical psychology journal, compared to the specialty journals.[11]

Although there has been sporadic research on ED in India, there has been no attempt to collate and analyze the literature landscape.[12] In this background, this study attempted to evaluate the research output on ED using scientometrics to understand the Indian contribution in the area of ED, discern current trends, and highlight the gaps in research that will provide directions for future work in this area. Accordingly, the objectives of the study were to examine India's research output during 2000–2019 on “EDs,” using qualitative and qualitative indicators.

  Methodology Top

For identifying and deriving India's publications on “EDs” research, we used the Scopus database (http://www.scopus.com) covering the period 2000–2019. The following search strategies were used for downloading global publications from India on “EDs.” In the initial search strategy, keywords, such as “EDs” or “Anorexia nervosa” or “Bulimia nervosa” or “Binge EDs” or 'Pica” or “Rumination disorder” or 'Avoidant food intake disorder,” or “restrictive food intake disorder,” were searched using Author Title tags in Scopus database, by restricting the search to 2000–2019. The initial search strategy resulted in 344 publications arising from India. This list was manually screened for the relevance and specificity, and out of these, 132 publications arising from India were considered to be relevant and specific to ED and these were included in the analysis. The included studies were further analyzed for research output by subject, collaborating country, organization, author, and journal. Citations to publications were counted from date of their publication till 5 August 2020 in the Scopus database.

  Results Top

Analysis of the 132 papers published during 2001–2019 showed that on an average, there were 6.95 publications per year. Ten-year cumulative publications from India registered 328% growth, up from 25 papers published during 2001–2009 to 107 papers published during the years 2010–2019. Citation impact of papers published from India averaged at 6.87 citations per paper (CPP) in the 20-year window, and the 10-year citation impact dropped from 17.68 CPP during the years 2000–2009 to 4.35 CPP during the years 2010–2019 [Table 1]. Out of the 132 papers, only 4 papers were based on funded research. These four funded papers received 12 citations averaging to 3 CPP. Of the total publications, 74.24% (n = 98) appeared as research articles, 14.39% (n = 70) appeared as review articles, 8.38% (n = 11) were published as letter to the editor, and 3% (n = 4) as other publications.
Table 1: Growth of global and Indian “Eating Disorders” Research Publications in India during 2000-2019

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International collaboration

About one-fifth (21.21%; n = 28 papers) of the papers involved an international collaboration. These 28 international collaborative papers (ICPs) had received 411 citations, averaging to 14.68 citations per paper. Among the ICPs, the largest number of collaborative papers were with the researchers from United States of America (11 papers), followed by Australia (6 papers), Canada (3 papers), Germany, Singapore, Brazil, China, France, Italy, and Japan (2 papers each), and 7 other countries (1 paper each).

Distribution of publications by type of eating disorder

In all, ED research from India could be broadly classified into six categories of disorders. Of these, research on anorexia nervosa accounted for the predominant share (31.82%), followed by pica (28.79%), bulimia nervosa (12.12%), binge EDs (10.61%), rumination disorder, and orthorexia nervosa (1.52% each). When the number of publications during the years 2000–2009 and 2010–2019 was compared, there was increase share in number of publications on anorexia nervosa (from 12.0% to 36.45%), binge EDs (from 20% to 23.36%), rumination disorder and orthorexia nervosa (from 0.0% to 1.87%), and pica (from 40.0 to 26.17) during the second decade [Table 2].
Table 2: Classification of India's Publications by type of “Eating Disorders” during 2000-2019

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Most productive organizations

96 organizations from India participated in research on EDs, with authors from 67 organizations contributing 1 publication each, authors from 16 organizations contributing 2 papers each, authors from 5 organizations contributing 3 papers each, researchers from 3 organizations having published 4 papers each, and researchers from 2 organizations published 5 papers each. Only three organizations had more than 5 papers each [Table 3].
Table 3: Scientometric profile of top 13 Most Productive Indian Organizations in “Eating Disorders” during 2000-2019

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The productivity of top 13 most productive Indian organizations varied from 3 to 14 publications per organization [Table 3]. Together, they contributed to 52.27% (69 papers) publications share and 58.32% (529 citations) citations share of publications ED during 2000–2019. Three organizations registered their publications output above their group average (5.3). These were All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi (14 papers); National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru (11 papers); and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh (7 papers). Four organizations registered their CPP and relative citation index above the group average (7.67 and 1.12). These included Christian Medical College, Vellore (13.40 and 1.95); PGIMER, Chandigarh (12.86 and 1.87); AIIMS, New Delhi (11.29 and 1.64); and NIMHANS, Bengaluru (10.64 and 1.55) [Table 3].

  Discussion Top

There are limited scientometric data from India for various psychiatric disorders. This study aimed to evaluate the research output on ED from India during the years 2000–2019, using published data covered in the Scopus database.

The present study suggest that ED is very less researched in India, with only 132 publications during 2000–2019. On comparing ED publications data with the publications data on schizophrenia and bipolar disorders (as analyzed by the authors during the same time frame),[13],[14] it is evident that research on ED is considerably less in terms of research priority. This could possibly be due to the fact that these disorders are less common than the severe mental disorders in the clinic attending population. Similarly, when the CPP was compared, it is also evident that the number of citations for papers published on ED is less, compared to that for schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.[13],[14]

Comparison of ED data with publications on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder also suggests that the number of funded projects on ED is considerably less. However, the only positive thing about the ED was that there was 328% increase in the 10-year cumulative growth of publications on ED, which is much more than that seen for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This finding suggests that possibly in recent years, there is growing interest in the area of ED. This may be a reflection of sociocultural change from traditional Eastern cultural values to Western traditional values, which possibly influences the prevalence of ED. This fact is further strengthen by the fact that majority of the research on ED has focused on anorexia nervosa. Limitations of the present study must be kept in mind when interpreting the findings. First, the study was based on Scopus search engine. Hence, the research publications not indexed in Scopus have not been included.

To conclude, the present study suggests that there is limited research on ED from India and the research on ED is limited to only few centers. These findings suggest that there is a need to increase the focus of research on ED from India. Although, over the last decade or so, the research output on ED from India has increased, still there is a need to considerably expand the research base on ED from India.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

National Institute of Mental Health. What are Eating Disorders: More than About Food USA; 2018. Available from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/index.shtml. [Last last assessed on 2020 Jun 16].  Back to cited text no. 1
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. p. 329-54.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rikani AA, Choudhry Z, Choudhry AM, Ikram H, Asghar MW, Kajal D, et al. A critique of the literature on etiology of eating disorders. Ann Neurosci 2013;20:157-61.  Back to cited text no. 3
Jha BK, Awadhia NP. Anorexia nervosa: Review of the syndrome with a case report. Indian J Psychiatry 1967;9:172-80.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Koskinen J, Isohanni M, Paajala H, Jääskeläinen E, Nieminen P, Koponen H, et al. How to use bibliometric methods in evaluation of scientific research? An example from Finnish schizophrenia research. Nord J Psychiatry 2008;62:136-43.  Back to cited text no. 8
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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