The lived experience of anorexia nervosa : a phenomenological study

King-Murphy, Lorraine Marie (1997) The lived experience of anorexia nervosa : a phenomenological study. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all emotional illnesses and claims the lives of 5 to 10 percent of its' victims. Despite the plethora of quantitative research on eating disorders, the prevalence of anorexia nervosa continues to rise, and the trajectory of the disorder remains dismal. -- In this study, a phenomenological mode of inquiry was used to explore the lived experience of anorexia nervosa. Data analysis was in line with van Manen's Hermeneutic Phenomenology. Six females, nineteen years of age and older, participated in two audiotaped unstructured interviews. Participants were encouraged to speak freely and openly about their overall experience of living with anorexia nervosa. -- Through data analysis of the transcripts (interviews) eight themes emerged: the weakened self, a struggle for control, controlled by the illness, concealing the self, consumed by the illness, readiness to change, letting-go while holding-on, and breaking the cycle. The web of interrelationships between these themes allowed the essence of the lived experience of anorexia nervosa to be captured as a persistent struggle to find meaning in life. Study participants described the development of a connectedness with another as providing a sense of meaning and purpose to their lives, and altering the destructive course of the illness. The findings also emphasized the impetuous nature of therapy (i.e., exerting power and control over clients) in the illness trajectory. The onus is certainly on health care providers to reevaluate current approaches to care and develop a unified treatment model for anorexia nervosa that will be more effective in facilitating recovery from this illness.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1502
Item ID: 1502
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 133-151
Department(s): Nursing, School of
Date: 1997
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Anorexia nervosa--Patients; Anorexia Nervosa

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