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Title: A study exploring disordered eating patterns in first-year university students : student and service needs
Author: Power, John James
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 2255
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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A qualitative study exploring disordered eating in a small group of first-year undergraduate students studying for professional health care related degrees (n=12) illustrating what support mechanisms and services are required for those 1st year students experiencing or at risk. Key issues emerging: Lack of understanding to the nature/risks associated with disordered eating and the use of disordered eating as a stress coping mechanism. For some of the students their patterns of disordered eating seemed to predate their arrival at university. Disordered eating was perceived negatively and as a mental health issue, they were consequently reticent to acknowledge to the university or in some cases to approach student counseling, being wary of the academic/ professional consequences. This was possibly reflected in a sometimes concealed /sub-clinical experience. Loneliness was an issue for some. A number of the students were evidently wary of eating in more public refectories. Almost all of the students felt very positive about their arrival at university and that their experience with disordered eating could potentially add to their repertoire as future health care professionals. Conclusion: The University could further develop its outreach to new students with a more consistently supportive program including stress training and more support via student buddying; and extend its program on positive mental health to reduce a sense of stigma within the student population. Personal tutors and student health care facilities need to be consistently trained in the understanding and person centered approach to students experiencing disordered eating, particularly the sub-clinical group. The University could consider some small changes and adaptations to the refectory eating areas to better facilitate at risk students. Finally the University could perhaps better use the first few months of student's arrival at university to help embed a program to develop a stronger sense of coherence and wellbeing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Child) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available