Exploring Men’s Accounts of Understanding and Seeking Help for Problems with Eating

Prof Doc Thesis

Markham, Laura 2013. Exploring Men’s Accounts of Understanding and Seeking Help for Problems with Eating. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3482
AuthorsMarkham, Laura
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Objective: The silence around ‘eating disorders’ in males is reflected in a dearth of literature on prevalence, aetiology, treatment and outcome (Morgan, 2010). Despite a documented increase in male ‘eating disorders’ (Braun et al., 1999), recent research has found that males often reach help at a later stage than females, that symptoms go unrecognised in a clinical setting, and that even
when males do receive a diagnosis, appropriate care is not always initiated (Copperman, 2000). The current study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the experience of males with ‘eating disorders’ (in the UK), using a qualitative approach. The study explored men’s experiences of living with an ‘eating disorder’, including their understanding of the development of the ‘eating disorder’ and their experiences of seeking help.
Method: Eight men were recruited from a self-help charity for men who identify as having an ‘eating disorder’ (thereby including males who had not sought professional help). Semi-structured interviews of eight men were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis, which provided scope to capture and contextualize the richness and complexity of their experiences. Results: Three superordinate analytic themes are presented: ‘boys should be boys and men should be men’, ‘the experience of interpersonal relationships’ and ‘the ‘eating disorder’ as both the problem and the solution: Negotiating a
road to recovery.’ A description of these superordinate themes and the related subthemes themes is presented.
Discussion: The results are discussed in terms of relevance to existing literature. The results reinforce the importance of considering the development and maintenance of ‘eating disorders’ at an individual, interpersonal and sociocultural level. The present study sheds light on some of the critical issues confronting men (at different stages of their lives) and the relationship of these issues with constructions and expressions of masculinity and to the development of ‘eating disorders’.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3482
Publication dates
PrintDec 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Jan 2014
Publisher's version
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