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Quality of life as a vulnerability and recovery factor in eating disorders: a community-based study

Mitchison, Deborah; Dawson, Lisa; Hand, Lucy; Mond, Jonathan; Hay, Phillipa

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BACKGROUND Emerging evidence suggests that changes in quality of life (QoL) predicts later changes in eating disorder (ED) symptoms. The objective of this study was to explore individual sufferers' perspectives on the influence of QoL on the onset, maintenance, and/or remission of ED symptoms. METHOD 19 women from the community with a history of eating disorders (n = 13 currently symptomatic; n = 6 recovered) were interviewed about their observations on the relationship between QoL and ED...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorMitchison, Deborah
dc.contributor.authorDawson, Lisa
dc.contributor.authorHand, Lucy
dc.contributor.authorMond, Jonathan
dc.contributor.authorHay, Phillipa
dc.date.accessioned2018-08-27T02:04:37Z
dc.date.available2018-08-27T02:04:37Z
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/146638
dc.description.abstractBACKGROUND Emerging evidence suggests that changes in quality of life (QoL) predicts later changes in eating disorder (ED) symptoms. The objective of this study was to explore individual sufferers' perspectives on the influence of QoL on the onset, maintenance, and/or remission of ED symptoms. METHOD 19 women from the community with a history of eating disorders (n = 13 currently symptomatic; n = 6 recovered) were interviewed about their observations on the relationship between QoL and ED symptoms over time in their own lives. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed, and then thematically analysed. RESULTS Thematic analysis uncovered two major themes: 1. QoL as a Vulnerability Factor, and 2. QoL as a Recovery Factor. In relation to the first theme, onset of ED symptoms was discussed by women in this study as having been triggered by impairment in QoL, including a general sense of lacking control in life, stress, abusive intimate relationships, poor role modelling from family, physical impairment related to obesity, peer pressure, and weight-related teasing. On the other hand, and in relation to the second theme, subsequent improvement in QoL was nominated as central to symptom improvement and recovery. QoL improvement was described by participants differently, but included increased general satisfaction in life, emotional maturation, prioritising and improving physical health, the development of a supportive intimate relationship and social relationships, and having children. CONCLUSIONS Impairment in QoL may act as a trigger for the onset and maintenance of ED symptoms, whereas improvement in QoL may be central to eating disorder improvement and eventual recovery. Treatment should involve consideration of a core focus on QoL improvement as a potential 'backdoor' approach to improving ED symptoms.
dc.description.sponsorshipDr Deborah Mitchison received a Western Sydney University Postgraduate Research Award and Professor Phillipa Hay received a research funding grant from Australian Rotary Health for this research.
dc.format13 pages
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.publisherBioMed Central
dc.rights© 2016 The Author(s). Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
dc.sourceBMC psychiatry
dc.subjectcommunity-based study
dc.subjecteating disorders
dc.subjectonset
dc.subjectqualitative
dc.subjectquality of life
dc.subjectrecovery
dc.subjectadult
dc.subjectfeeding and eating disorders
dc.subjectfemale
dc.subjecthumans
dc.subjectquality of life
dc.subjectsurveys and questionnaires
dc.subjectyoung adult
dc.subjectprotective factors
dc.subjectrisk factors
dc.titleQuality of life as a vulnerability and recovery factor in eating disorders: a community-based study
dc.typeJournal article
local.identifier.citationvolume16
dcterms.dateAccepted2016-09-07
dc.date.issued2016-10-11
local.publisher.urlhttps://www.biomedcentral.com/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationMond, Jonathan, School of Psychology, CHM Research School of Psychology, The Australian National University
local.identifier.essn1471-244X
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage328
local.identifier.doi10.1186/s12888-016-1033-0
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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