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Title: Experiences of pregnancy for women with eating disorders : a qualitative investigation
Author: Seamans, Jennifer.
Awarding Body: University of Lancaster
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2004
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Eating disorders occur primarily in young women, many of whom are of child bearing age. Pregnancy has often been viewed as a period of great developmental change for women. Many psychological processes such as body image, autonomy, dependency and relationships to one's own parents, which have been hypothesised to be important in the development of eating disorders, are highlighted during pregnancy. This may mean that pregnancy is a particularly stressful time for women with eating disorders. The limited amount of previous research in this area has suggested the potential for pregnancy to exert a positive or negative influence on eating disorder symptoms. The present study employs a qualitative methodology, with the aim of exploring the experiences of pregnancy for women with eating disorders and elucidating the meaning behind any changes to the course of eating disorder symptoms. Twelve women who had active eating disorders at the time they became pregnant were retrospectively interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. The interview transcripts were analysed using a grounded theory approach. Following this analysis a proposed theoretical model of women with eating disorders' experiences of pregnancy was devised. Central to this model are conflicts between a sense of freedom and a lack of personal control and between a woman's identity as a mother and her eating disordered identity. These conflicts are proposed to be mediated by a woman's sense of physical and psychological attachment to her baby and her sense of her baby as a person. The strengths and limitations of the research are discussed and implications of the theory for clinical practice and future research are suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available