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Title: An exploration of self-disgust in females with eating disorders
Author: Marinho, Fatima Pinto
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 9502
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2017
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Background and Aims: Research suggests that the emotion of disgust plays a role in psychological distress associated with eating, body shape and weight related concerns, though evidence is inconsistent. Recent theoretical and empirical literature have highlighted the potential relevance of the emotion of disgust towards the self (i.e. self-disgust) in various presentations of psychological distress. However, research in this area remains in its infancy. This study aimed to build on emerging research by employing a qualitative approach to gain more of an understanding of the perspectives of women who experience psychological distress associated with eating, body shape and weight. Method: Eight semi-structured interviews were conducted with women with an eating disorder diagnosis. The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Four main themes were developed: the interpersonal and sociocultural context of self-disgust, self-disgust as both transient and enduring, self-disgust as a complex emotional experience, and the on-going struggle to protect the self. The findings highlight how self-disgust appears to be understood as emerging in the context of being harshly judged and treated in relation to one’s body weight and shape, and not fitting in societal expectations regarding body size. Self-disgust also appeared to be understood as having trait and state-like components as well as cognitive-affective aspects congruent with an emotion schema, and be experienced in conjunction with other emotions. Participants appeared to employ a number of strategies to manage feelings of self-disgust, including calming breathing, distraction and avoidance. Conclusions: This study emphasises the potential usefulness of an increased clinical awareness of self-disgust to support individuals experiencing psychological distress associated with eating problems. The theoretical, clinical and research implications are discussed, and possible limitations of this study are considered. It is hoped that the present findings will contribute to better outcomes for those experiencing psychological distress associated with eating problems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral