An exploration of the experiences of people with eating disorders in school: A friend’s perspective.
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Eating disorders are considered to be some of the most debilitating mental health conditions, with the two major eating disorders being anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) (Klein & Walsh, 2003). Eating disorders have been found to have a negative impact on family life and relationships, and cause psychological challenges (Papathomas, Smith & Lavallee, 2015). There is extensive past research exploring the experience of family of people with eating disorders, however there is a lack of research into the experiences of friends of those with eating disorders. This is especially relevant as adolescence is the average age of onset for anorexia nervosa and bulimia, which is when people are spending a significant amount of time with friends in school. The present study aimed to explore the experiences of being a friend of someone with an eating disorder (ED), it looked at many aspects of eating disorders and friendship but had a specific focus on school years. This study adopted a qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews to gather rich data and thematic analysis to analyse the data. The thematic analysis identified five overarching themes: ‘Interactions with Others’, ‘Family’, ‘Impact on School Life’, ‘Characteristics Observed’, and ‘Knowledge and Support’, each theme consisted of two to four subthemes. These findings were consistent with past research into the experiences of family; however, the present study provided an insight into the experiences of friends. Further research into friends of those with eating disorders could provide beneficial insight into other eating disorders and add to the limited research available.
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“Should I be Eating Around You?” The Experience of Having a Friend who has been Diagnosed with an Eating Disorder Boyd-Thorpe, Hayley Louise (Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2017-06-01)Research has highlighted the negative impact eating disorders can have on those in the diagnosed individual’s social network. However, much of this research had been conducted on carers of diagnosed individuals, many of ...
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