Insights into the experiences of treatment for an eating disorder in men: A qualitative study of autobiographies

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Abstract

Eating disorders are increasingly recognized as a problem for men but help-seeking is low and little is known about their treatment experiences. This paper sought to determine the treatment experiences of men who have suffered from an eating disorder using autobiographical data. Inclusion criteria were autobiographies of men who had experienced an eating disorder and sought any form of treatment for this, written in the English language, published between 1995 and 2015, and available for purchase in 2016. The search resulted in six books that were thematically analyzed. Analysis of data resulted in two broad themes (1. Positive experiences; 2. Negative experiences) with sub-Themes. With regards to the first theme, factors such as concern of staff members, therapist's expertise (in treating eating disorders in men), and a collaborative treatment approach were considered favorable for treatment. In contrast to the first theme, apathy of staff members, the authors' own negative preconceptions, treatment providers being perceived as prioritizing financial concerns, perceived as incompetent and judgmental behavior of therapist(s), and time limitations of sessions were considered unfavorable treatment experiences. In this study, the perceived success of treatment depended on therapist's features and the form of treatment provided. Further research examining these is indicated.

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Thapliyal, P., Mitchison, D., & Hay, P. (2017). Insights into the experiences of treatment for an eating disorder in men: A qualitative study of autobiographies. Behavioral Sciences, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7020038

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