Understanding the experience of ambivalence in anorexia nervosa.

This source preferred by Sarah Muir

Authors: Williams, S. and Reid, M.


Journal: Psychology and Health

Volume: 25

Pages: 551-567

ISSN: 0887-0446

DOI: 10.1080/08870440802617629

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.

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