More than mere vanity : men with eating disorders

Philpott, David F. (1995) More than mere vanity : men with eating disorders. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The purpose of this thesis was to further an understanding of eating disorders in men. The intention was to contribute to the literature on this subject by providing a forum where men with body image and/or eating disorders could openly and candidly tell their stories. -- A qualitative research approach was utilized by conducting a series of semi-structured, individual interviews with a variety of men, 18 years of age and older. Paramount in this group were men who had disclosed eating disorders and who have initiated a recovery process. Focus was also given to men who expressed concern over body image and masculinity. Interviews were audio-taped and then transcribed. Candidates were obtained from referrals by counsellors, and word-of-mouth procedures with each participant giving prior permission for the referral. Consent forms were signed and anonymity offered via pseudonyms. -- The thesis is organized into three sections. Part One examines the changing attitudes of men towards eating, body image, and masculinity. It includes findings from a wide variety of sources, providing insight into society's evolving messages to males. It examines some of the reasons why men with eating disorders are hesitant to seek help and often fail to identify their condition. It also examines the escalating pressure on males to adopt unrealistic body images as portrayed in contemporary media. -- Part Two, the core of the thesis, gives voice to the men who, with eloquence, shared their struggles with these issues. It explores the diversity of symptoms and behaviours experienced by these men, many of which challenge conventional stereotypes of eating disorders. It examines a variety of topics that the men identified, including: multiple addictions, sexual abuse, compulsive exercise, early rejection from peers and role models, and a poorly defined sense of masculinity. -- The third and final section sheds a brief light on the individual recovery process, as experienced by the men who shared their stories in Part Two. It explores their attempts to find self acceptance by adopting healthier definitions of masculinity, separate from their addiction and pain. -- Interestingly, all the men who were approached for the study were eager to participate and told their stories, some for the first time, with remarkable candour. While men are often alleged to be disconnected from their feelings, all of the men who were interviewed spoke of a long history of having access to, and an awareness of wide spectrum of emotions with an amazing repertoire of vocabulary to verbalize them.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6536
Item ID: 6536
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 157-175.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1995
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Eating disorders; Body image; Bodybuilding--Psychological aspects; Men--Psychology

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