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Title: Exploring the metacognitive profile and role of memory in adolescents with anorexia nervosa
Author: Liveley, Katie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 6065
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the metacognitive profile and role of memory in adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN). Nine adolescent females with AN participated in the study. Metacognition can be conceptualised as ‘thinking about thinking’ (Wells, 2000). Metacognitive factors or cognitive processes involved in regulating thoughts and emotions can be explained by the Self-Regulatory Executive Function (S-REF) model (Wells & Matthews, 1994). Metacognitive dysfunction has been identified in adults with AN (e.g., McDermott & Rushford, 2011). Individuals with AN present with a toxic style of thinking, which is characterised by processing negative self-beliefs, perseverative thinking, self-focussed attention, threat monitoring and avoidance (e.g., McDermott & Rushford, 2011; Wells, 2000, 2009). Metacognitive factors can have an effect on memory processing (Mazzoni & Kirsch, 2002). Research on memory in eating disordered populations has focussed on the origins of the disorder, content of early recollections and the families’ relationship with food. Studies indicate that negative early experiences are associated with disordered eating (e.g., Sweetingham & Waller, 2008). This was the first qualitative study of metacognitive factors and role of memory, whereby the content, use, and impact of memories were explored. The primary research question was to explore and describe the metacognitive profile of adolescents with AN. The secondary question aimed to understand and capture the role of memory in this clinical sample. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to assess metacognitive factors and memories, based on Wells and Matthews’ (1994) metacognitive profiling interview. Data analysis was performed using thematic analysis, where the information was organised into four themes, Relationships in Anorexia Nervosa, Cognition, Coping Strategies, and Early Experiences and Memory. The key findings were that 8 participants described patterns of metacognitive dysfunction and indicated that memory can have a negative impact on mood and lead to dietary restriction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available