Understanding the experience of ambivalence in anorexia nervosa: the maintainer's perspective

Williams, Sarah and Reid, Marie (2010) Understanding the experience of ambivalence in anorexia nervosa: the maintainer's perspective. Psychology and Health, 25, (5), 551-568. (doi:10.1080/08870440802617629).


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People with anorexia often feel ambivalent about whether they wish to maintain it or recover from it. One place where individuals can communicate their experiences of wanting to maintain their anorexia is through pro-anorexia websites. This study investigated the experiences and understandings of those who wish to maintain their anorexia and looked at how these understandings may affect their treatment experiences.

Data were collected online and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Anorexia denoted meanings of a 'tool', an 'entity' and a 'disease'. Participants felt ambivalent about whether their anorexia gave them control or controlled them, whether it played a positive or negative role and whether they wished to maintain their behaviours or recover. Participants also discussed barriers to recovery. Theoretical and treatment implications are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/08870440802617629
ISSNs: 1476-8321 (electronic)
0887-0446 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: anorexia nervosa, pro-anorexia, ambivalence, online, qualitative research
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Human Wellbeing
ePrint ID: 148491
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2010 10:07
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:22
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/148491

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