What are people’s experiences of orthorexia nervosa? A qualitative study of online blogs

Authors: Greville-Harris, M., Smithson, J. and Karl, A.

Journal: Eating and Weight Disorders

Volume: 25

Issue: 6

Pages: 1693-1702

eISSN: 1590-1262

ISSN: 1124-4909

DOI: 10.1007/s40519-019-00809-2

Abstract:

Purpose: Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is a proposed new eating disorder, used to describe a pathological obsession with healthy or ‘clean’ eating. Although some quantitative research has been carried out in ON, very little qualitative work has been published to date to explore individual experiences of ON. Thus, this study aimed to explore individuals’ personal experiences of ON, as described in online blogs. Methods: Fifteen women bloggers, who self-identified as having ON, consented for their blog entries to be analysed in this study. Forty pre-existing blog entries describing the first-person experiences of ON were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Three key themes were discussed: (1) initial motivations for a healthier lifestyle, (2) fuelling the problem—social influences, and: (3) when healthy becomes unhealthy. Bloggers described the role of social messages, comparison with others around ideas of ‘healthiness’, as well as confusion around diagnosis as factors influencing their disordered eating. They also described the exacerbating impact of perfectionism and perceived control, as well as a confirmatory cycle of fear and avoidance. For some bloggers, increased physical symptoms in response to feared foods provided confirmation for these fears, further exacerbating food avoidance. Conclusion: Whilst the debate around the diagnosis of ON continues, these bloggers’ accounts suggest that ON is experienced as a legitimate, debilitating disorder, worthy of clinical and research investigation. This study provides evidence of some of the potential triggers and maintaining factors for this disordered eating style. Level of evidence: Level V, qualitative descriptive study.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33070/

Source: Scopus

What are people's experiences of orthorexia nervosa? A qualitative study of online blogs.

Authors: Greville-Harris, M., Smithson, J. and Karl, A.

Journal: Eat Weight Disord

Volume: 25

Issue: 6

Pages: 1693-1702

eISSN: 1590-1262

DOI: 10.1007/s40519-019-00809-2

Abstract:

PURPOSE: Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is a proposed new eating disorder, used to describe a pathological obsession with healthy or 'clean' eating. Although some quantitative research has been carried out in ON, very little qualitative work has been published to date to explore individual experiences of ON. Thus, this study aimed to explore individuals' personal experiences of ON, as described in online blogs. METHODS: Fifteen women bloggers, who self-identified as having ON, consented for their blog entries to be analysed in this study. Forty pre-existing blog entries describing the first-person experiences of ON were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Three key themes were discussed: (1) initial motivations for a healthier lifestyle, (2) fuelling the problem-social influences, and: (3) when healthy becomes unhealthy. Bloggers described the role of social messages, comparison with others around ideas of 'healthiness', as well as confusion around diagnosis as factors influencing their disordered eating. They also described the exacerbating impact of perfectionism and perceived control, as well as a confirmatory cycle of fear and avoidance. For some bloggers, increased physical symptoms in response to feared foods provided confirmation for these fears, further exacerbating food avoidance. CONCLUSION: Whilst the debate around the diagnosis of ON continues, these bloggers' accounts suggest that ON is experienced as a legitimate, debilitating disorder, worthy of clinical and research investigation. This study provides evidence of some of the potential triggers and maintaining factors for this disordered eating style. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level V, qualitative descriptive study.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33070/

Source: PubMed

What are people's experiences of orthorexia nervosa? A qualitative study of online blogs

Authors: Greville-Harris, M., Smithson, J. and Karl, A.

Journal: EATING AND WEIGHT DISORDERS-STUDIES ON ANOREXIA BULIMIA AND OBESITY

Volume: 25

Issue: 6

Pages: 1693-1702

eISSN: 1590-1262

ISSN: 1124-4909

DOI: 10.1007/s40519-019-00809-2

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33070/

Source: Web of Science (Lite)

What are people’s experiences of orthorexia nervosa? A qualitative study of online blogs

Authors: Greville-Harris, M., Smithson, J. and Karl, A.

Journal: Eating and Weight Disorders: studies on anorexia, bulimia and obesity

Publisher: Editrice Kurtis srl

ISSN: 1590-1262

DOI: 10.1007/s40519-019-00809-2

Abstract:

Purpose Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is a proposed new eating disorder, used to describe a pathological obsession with healthy or ‘clean’ eating. Although some quantitative research has been carried out in ON, very little qualitative work has been published to date to explore individual experiences of ON. Thus, this study aimed to explore individuals’ personal experiences of ON, as described in online blogs.

Methods Fifteen women bloggers, who self-identified as having ON, consented for their blog entries to be analysed in this study. Forty pre-existing blog entries describing the first-person experiences of ON were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results Three key themes were discussed: (1) initial motivations for a healthier lifestyle, (2) fuelling the problem—social influences, and: (3) when healthy becomes unhealthy. Bloggers described the role of social messages, comparison with others around ideas of ‘healthiness’, as well as confusion around diagnosis as factors influencing their disordered eating. They also described the exacerbating impact of perfectionism and perceived control, as well as a confirmatory cycle of fear and avoidance. For some bloggers, increased physical symptoms in response to feared foods provided confirmation for these fears, further exacerbating food avoidance.

Conclusion Whilst the debate around the diagnosis of ON continues, these bloggers’ accounts suggest that ON is experienced as a legitimate, debilitating disorder, worthy of clinical and research investigation. This study provides evidence of some of the potential triggers and maintaining factors for this disordered eating style.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33070/

Source: Manual

What are people's experiences of orthorexia nervosa? A qualitative study of online blogs.

Authors: Greville-Harris, M., Smithson, J. and Karl, A.

Journal: Eating and weight disorders : EWD

Volume: 25

Issue: 6

Pages: 1693-1702

eISSN: 1590-1262

ISSN: 1124-4909

DOI: 10.1007/s40519-019-00809-2

Abstract:

Purpose

Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is a proposed new eating disorder, used to describe a pathological obsession with healthy or 'clean' eating. Although some quantitative research has been carried out in ON, very little qualitative work has been published to date to explore individual experiences of ON. Thus, this study aimed to explore individuals' personal experiences of ON, as described in online blogs.

Methods

Fifteen women bloggers, who self-identified as having ON, consented for their blog entries to be analysed in this study. Forty pre-existing blog entries describing the first-person experiences of ON were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results

Three key themes were discussed: (1) initial motivations for a healthier lifestyle, (2) fuelling the problem-social influences, and: (3) when healthy becomes unhealthy. Bloggers described the role of social messages, comparison with others around ideas of 'healthiness', as well as confusion around diagnosis as factors influencing their disordered eating. They also described the exacerbating impact of perfectionism and perceived control, as well as a confirmatory cycle of fear and avoidance. For some bloggers, increased physical symptoms in response to feared foods provided confirmation for these fears, further exacerbating food avoidance.

Conclusion

Whilst the debate around the diagnosis of ON continues, these bloggers' accounts suggest that ON is experienced as a legitimate, debilitating disorder, worthy of clinical and research investigation. This study provides evidence of some of the potential triggers and maintaining factors for this disordered eating style.

Level of evidence

Level V, qualitative descriptive study.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33070/

Source: Europe PubMed Central