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Transition experience in adults after hospitalisation for anorexia nervosa

Mitchell, J. (2018). Transition experience in adults after hospitalisation for anorexia nervosa. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Research into the experiences of hospitalization for people with eating disorders (ED) has previously focused on the inpatient stay itself and generally been limited to the adolescent experience. Very little is mentioned in terms of the experience of being discharged from specialist eating disorder units and concerns have been raised about the issue of this transition in terms of other psychiatric conditions. In view of the paucity of research into the discharge transition in ED, this study investigated the lived experiences of the transition from inpatient to outpatient care following hospitalization for anorexia nervosa. Participants were six women who were recruited from one specialist outpatient service. The study design was qualitative, using semi structured interview data, analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Two superordinate themes emerged: living with ambivalence to change and living in recovery. Participants’ accounts highlighted psychological blocks that accompanied the environmental transition. Transition from hospital brought to mind the continued ambivalence that the women felt towards their eating disorder. Moreover, a focus on recovery was revealed: recovery involved letting go of inpatient relationships, harnessing support from others in the community and having a vision of the recovered self. Ambivalence was experienced in a complex manner with elements of conflict, confusion and shame attached to it. It is suggested that these findings may be useful for the psychological reformulation of current ambivalence at point of discharge and clinical implications are presented.

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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