Service user and eating disorder therapist views on anorexia nervosa recovery criteria

McDonald, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-3524-1782, Williams, A.J., Barr, P., Mcnamara, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-3123-3678 and Marriott, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-7743-5262, 2021. Service user and eating disorder therapist views on anorexia nervosa recovery criteria. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. ISSN 1476-0835

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Objectives: Recovery from anorexia nervosa (AN) is difficult to define, and efforts to establish recovery criteria have led to several versions being proposed. Using the perspectives of people with histories of AN and therapists working in the field, we sought to explore the face validity of Khalsa et al (2017) as one of the most recent examples of proposed systematic recovery criteria.

Design: We interviewed 11 health service users (SUs) with histories of AN who had previously received treatment alongside 8 eating disorder therapists (EDTs), exploring their views on the proposed AN recovery criteria.

Methods: Data from verbal and written interviews were analysed thematically. Separate thematic analyses of SU and EDT interviews highlighted where concerns converged and diverged across participants.

Results: Both groups saw some merits of having universally recognized recovery criteria, and the multidimensional approach was welcomed, but EDTs were uncomfortable with considering their use in therapy and SUs felt key components were missing around emotional coping and life quality. SUs disliked the prominence of body mass index (BMI) in the criteria, and all struggled with the proposed duration for recovery. Conceptually, the notion of recovery as an endpoint rather than a journey was contested.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate disparities between academically derived recovery criteria and lived experiences and indicate perceived challenges in using such criteria in therapeutic settings. Including SUs and EDTs in the development of criteria may improve the likelihood of consolidating AN recovery criteria, but conceptual challenges remain.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
Creators: McDonald, S., Williams, A.J., Barr, P., Mcnamara, N. and Marriott, M.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: 24 March 2021
ISSN: 1476-0835
Rights: © 2021 The Authors. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 07 Apr 2021 14:56
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:04

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