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Title: The relational world of anorexia nervosa : a phenomenological exploration into the experiences of pursued weight loss amongst women
Author: Sampaio, Danielle
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2012
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Aims: This thesis aims to illuminate the experiences of 8 women between the ages of 22-60 who have experienced anorexia nervosa. In particular, the aim is to understand their relationship to food within the context of their wider lived world and relationships. The meaning that anorexic behaviours carried for participants is also looked at in detail. Additionally, attention is paid to the experience of any change that has occurred with their relationship to food, themselves and others. Method: Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. This method allows for in-depth data to be gathered on participants’ unique experiences, whilst uncovering commonalities of themes within a homogenous sample group. Embracing reflexivity as a researcher is an equally important part of this thesis. There is a continual engagement with my personal and professional values, beliefs and potential biases that could have influenced the findings of this thesis. Findings: The analysis produced five master themes: 1) Problematic Relationships within the Family, 2) Challenging Relationships and Experiences with the Wider World, 3) A Conflicted Relationship between the Physical and Psychological Sense of Self, 4) A Meaningful Relationship with Food, 5) The Role and Influence of Others in the Process of Change. Discussion: The importance of understanding anorexia nervosa within the context of participants’ wider past and present experiences and relationships was notable. This includes understanding how anorexia relates to their relationship with themselves and their fragile sense of self. There is a perceived need to work collaboratively as counselling psychologists, to ensure that clients have access to a range of therapeutic interventions which focus not just on symptom alleviation, but on deeper problematic relationships.
Supervisor: Adams, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Eating Disorders