City Research Online

Bridging the gap between clinicians' delivery and patients' experience of eating disorder diagnoses

Joshi, Nimisha (2015). Bridging the gap between clinicians' delivery and patients' experience of eating disorder diagnoses. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The notion of diagnosis has been shown to have a profound influence within mental health practice with much attention focusing on the controversies and challenges surrounding the diagnostic classification of eating disorders. However, research focusing on how patients experience their eating disorder diagnosis is scarce. The purpose of this research, therefore, was to address this gap in the literature by exploring patients’ experiences of receiving a diagnosis of an eating disorder. Ten female patients were recruited from an adult community eating disorders service in the UK. All patients had received an eating disorder diagnosis and were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. Transcribed interviews were qualitatively analysed using the principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Four master themes emerged from the data: (1) Living with an unlabelled condition, (2) Perception of the patient-therapist relationship and interpersonal qualities, (3) Living with the diagnostic label, (4) A pathway to recovery. The findings provide a rich description on how participants experienced diagnosis. Patients’ experiences were both negative and positive whereby their experiences progressed from disbelief and rejection of the diagnosis to ideas of acceptance and recovery. Receiving and living with a diagnosis of an eating disorder has a significant impact on patients which should be considered throughout their assessment and treatment process. The need for compassionate care from professionals was an important component that was highlighted and recommendations were made in this regard. It is argued that increased awareness of patient experience will help clinicians to develop stronger therapeutic alliances and develop new clinical interventions.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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