Young women's experiences of hospitalization for Anorexia Nervosa: a qualitative study




Cumming, Jessica Rose

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Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a serious psychiatric disorder marked by the refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and excessive fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. This eating disorder is most prevalent among young women. Most research on hospitalized AN patients has been quantitative, and the experiences and perspectives of young women struggling with AN are underrepresented in the literature. Using a social constructionist and relational cultural lens, the research question addressed in the current study was What are AN participants’ experiences of helpful and not helpful factors in hospitalized care that affect recovery, motivation, and subjective well-being? The study used a narrative approach, where eight young women aged 1725 were interviewed regarding their stories of being treated in general or paediatric wards for AN. A thematic analysis was conducted to identify salient themes in the research interviews. The young women identified factors grouped into six main theme clusters that either helped or hindered their recovery during their time in the hospital, including: Staff Knowledge and Training, Treatment Experiences, Identity, Negative Treatment Impact, Abandonment, and Relationships. Implications of the findings for research, theory, and practice are discussed.



eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa, Social Constructionism, Relational Cultural Theory, Qualitative Research, Narrative Research, Counselling, Hospitalization, Mental Health, Young women