City Research Online

A complex relationship with food

Abramowski, Anna (2016). A complex relationship with food. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Eating from birth onwards is closely connected with interpersonal and emotional experiences and, therefore, its psychological and physiological dimensions cannot be strictly differentiated. This research aims to gain an in-depth understanding of obese men’s relationship with food prior to having weight loss surgery, as there is a paucity of studies solely representing men’s idiosyncratic views and opinions.

This research adopts a qualitative design and uses interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to analyse the data as it has been shown to be an effective approach when little is known on a topic, there is novelty and complexity, and there are issues relating to identity and sense making.

Eight participants have been recruited through two well renowned charities: (1) the British Obesity Surgery Patient Association (BOSPA and (2) Weight Loss Surgery Information and Support (WLSinfo). Participants were invited to take part in a 60 minute face-to-face semi-structured interview and asked questions regarding their relationship with food prior to receiving bariatric surgery.

The over-arching theme of ‘Food and the masculine-self’ emerged with five interrelated superordinate themes: (1) ‘Family milieu: past and present’, (2) ‘Food as the self-soother’, (3) ‘Socio-cultural ramifications’, (4) ‘ Food and selfidentity’, and (5) ‘ Food and weight loss surgery expectations’. These results represent my interpretation of my participants’ interpretation of their lived experience.

The findings increase our understanding and knowledge on how best to support men psychologically prior to undergoing bariatric surgery. Additionally, it gives men a voice in a field where the preponderance of the literature in qualitative research has solely focused on women’s narratives.

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