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Does meaning matter in the treatment of anorexia nervosa? A mixed methods study of the experience and meaning of illness for female children and young people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and other restrictive eating disorders, and their parents

Troupp, Catherine; (2020) Does meaning matter in the treatment of anorexia nervosa? A mixed methods study of the experience and meaning of illness for female children and young people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and other restrictive eating disorders, and their parents. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Does meaning matter in the treatment of anorexia nervosa? A mixed methods study of the experience and meaning of illness for female children and young people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and other restrictive eating disorders, and their parents. Rationale This research was prompted by clinical experience and curiosity about the apparent absence of meaning-making in therapeutic conversations with parents and children in the family-based treatment (FBT) model, the current first-line, evidence-based treatment for young people with anorexia, and how this absence might impact treatment outcome and family relationships. A second area of research concerned parents’ capacity for ‘mentalizing’ – that is, imaginatively trying to understand the intentions behind their children’s behaviour. Recruitment Research subjects were recruited from a Tier 4 outpatient, national service treating young people with a range of eating disorders and their families. Ten families and one pilot family were recruited in 2012-13. All the children and young people in the research cohort were girls. Design and method The study was designed as a mixed methods, longitudinal study, based entirely on individual interviews. A total of 35 interviews were analysed. Mothers, fathers, and children were interviewed separately near beginning and after end of treatment in the service. Data analysis was conducted both qualitatively by means of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), and quantitatively with the measure of Reflective Function. The semi-structured interview was designed, and results partly presented, along four main domains, Understanding, Impact, Value and Recovery. Interviews were also designed to probe for mental state thinking and mentalizing about self and other. Discussion Results indicated that parents in particular fell into two discrete groups, with common characteristics. One group prioritised understanding and ‘mentalizing’ their children, while the other group viewed eating disorders as something likely unrelated to family relationships. The emotional impact of their child’s eating disorder was markedly different in each group. The discussion includes a psychoanalytic theoretical framework when interpreting findings.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Does meaning matter in the treatment of anorexia nervosa? A mixed methods study of the experience and meaning of illness for female children and young people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and other restrictive eating disorders, and their parents
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107455
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