City Research Online

Anorexia, Self Harm and Depression: Exploring Internal Worlds and Underlying Deficits

Cooper, K. (2011). Anorexia, Self Harm and Depression: Exploring Internal Worlds and Underlying Deficits. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


This thesis explores the meaning of food for individuals with anorexia. 9 female inpatients aged over 18 with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa were interviewed. The participant interviews were analyzed qualitatively using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and four master themes were identified: Food as a container, food as a concrete representation of internal states and relationships, food as a separator and food as a control mechanism. Within this research these master themes were expounded upon and explained in relation to current theories and also in relation to two core concepts that also emerged from the research's findings: Loss of and broken sense of self and misattuned caregiving. In conclusion this study offers its readers a potential conceptual and theoretical model based around its findings of the meaning of food, for the explanation and development of anorexia. It is hoped that these findings will be useful in informing and developing clinical understandings of anorexia and new treatment approaches.

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