Exploring the experiences of siblings of young people diagnosed with an ‘eating disorder’

Prof Doc Thesis

Moses, Davina 2013. Exploring the experiences of siblings of young people diagnosed with an ‘eating disorder’. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3446
AuthorsMoses, Davina
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Background and Aims: Research focused on the families of children and
adolescents diagnosed with an ‘eating disorder’ has long suggested an impact on the
family and individual family members. It is increasingly acknowledged through
research and clinical practice that siblings can play an important part in the support
and recovery of young people diagnosed with an ‘eating disorder’. However, less is
known about the views of siblings in this context and the ways in which they might
experience the situation. The use of the sibling perspective in qualitative
psychological research is emerging however, a limited number of studies specific to
the field of ‘eating disorders’ have used such methods. The current study therefore
aimed to find out what siblings said about the experiences of living with a brother or
sister diagnosed with an ‘eating disorder’. The study aimed to hear about their
experiences; the ways in which they felt the situation might impact on their lives; and
their views about professional support.
Method: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six siblings all aged
between 11 and 18 years. All had a sibling diagnosed with an ‘eating disorder’ who
had, or was receiving professional support for this. Verbatim interview transcripts
were analysed using Thematic Analysis.
Results: The analysis produced five main themes. These were: ‘Making sense of it
all’; “Home’s not how I remember”; “It impacts me too’; “To talk or not to talk?”; and
“Life goes on”. A description of these themes and associated sub-themes is
Conclusion: Siblings report experiencing impact in a number of aspects of their lives
and within family life. The results of the analysis offer support for previous findings
within the sibling literature and further justify the need for on-going, wider research
using sibling accounts. Clinical implications and directions for future research are

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3446
Publication dates
PrintMay 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Jan 2014
Publisher's version
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