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Examination of hidden realities through practice and reflection: a journey towards integrating several levels of reality

Pinheiro, L. (2022). Examination of hidden realities through practice and reflection: a journey towards integrating several levels of reality. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Background: Notwithstanding the increasing number of males experiencing eating disorder (ED) symptoms, and consequently the higher number of males with EDs expected to require clinical attention, there is a lack of ED research focusing on males and even fewer studies focusing on their experiences beyond treatment and recovery. Also, there is a lack of research employing qualitative methodologies and investigating males displaying symptoms of binge eating disorder (BED). Therefore, this study aimed to explore males’ experiences beyond treatment and recovery and to include males with BED, in addition to anorexia nervosa (AN), and bulimia nervosa (BN). Methods: This study employed a qualitative methodology underpinned by a critical realist paradigm. Eleven men in the UK, diagnosed with AN, BN and BED, were interviewed and the data were analysed using an inductive Thematic Analysis (TA) based on Braun and Clarke's (2006) procedure. Results: Four main themes emerged from the data: ‘EDs don’t happen to people like me’, ‘EDs as paradox’, ‘Steps for change’, and ‘EDs are not part of men’s reality.’ These findings suggest that men’s experiences of their symptoms were strongly associated with sociocultural norms pertaining to gender roles. Also, the findings and limitations were discussed with regard to clinical practice, such as highlighting the need for healthcare professionals to consider and challenge sociocultural norms associated with ED and gender, and suggestions for further research to investigate males from diverse backgrounds, sexualities and ages. Conclusions: Gender ideals within an ED context should be challenged to improve gender equality in ED research and in clinical contexts.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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