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Childhood onset eating disorders: The experience of parents

Cottee, Danielle C; (2001) Childhood onset eating disorders: The experience of parents. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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To date, there does not appear to be a study that has systematically examined the experience of parents who have a child with an eating disorder. It is essential to understand parents' perspectives because of their central role in the treatment of childhood eating disorders. This is a qualitative study that aims to address this gap in the literature. Of primary interest is parents' views on the impact of having a child with an eating disorder: how it affects their every day life, how it affects them personally and how it impacts upon the family as a whole. This study explores parents' understanding of their child's eating disorder, including their views of the possible causes of their child's illness and in terms of the help they feel they and their child need. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 mothers and 8 fathers. All participants had a child with a diagnosis of either anorexia nervosa or selective eating. In total, this concerned 8 daughters and 3 sons. Parents were also asked to complete several complementary questionnaires. These methods enabled individual parents' views to be explored in depth and retained within the analysis. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and were then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith 1995). This is a qualitative form of analysis in which themes within the data are systematically identified. The results section describes how parents' accounts can be understood in terms of related themes. Themes are presented under the following domains: understanding the eating disorder; the impact of the eating disorder and managing the eating disorder. The analysis reveals that there are many commonalties between the accounts of the two sets of parents, but also some distinct differences. The discussion section examines the results of the study in relation to current eating disorder literature. It pays close attention to the similarities and differences in the accounts of parents who have a child with anorexia nervosa and those who have a child with selective eating. Methodological issues are examined. Following this, recommendations for clinical practice are outlined.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Childhood onset eating disorders: The experience of parents
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Eating disorders
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098890
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