Un/imaginable future selves: A discourse analysis of inpatients' talk about recovery from an 'eating disorder'.

MALSON, Helen, BAILEY, Lin, CLARKE, Simon, TREASURE, Janet, ANDERSON, Gail and KOHN, Michael (2011). Un/imaginable future selves: A discourse analysis of inpatients' talk about recovery from an 'eating disorder'. European Eating Disorders Review, 19 (1), 25-36.

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Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/er...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.1011


Background: The limited efficacy of treatments for eating disorders has been well documented. Yet few studies have explored patients' views about recovery or how culturally dominant ideas might be implicated in recovery or failure to recover. Aims: This paper explores how ‘self’, ‘eating disorders’ and ‘recovery’ are discursively constructed in patients' accounts of their treatment experiences. Method: Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 39 participants, hospitalised, either in Britain or Australia, for anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia. Participants were asked to discuss past and present treatment experiences and their views on their recovery and future. Interviews were audio‐recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed qualitatively using a discourse analytic methodology. Results: Participants frequently construed their eating disorder in very negative ways whilst recovery was often positively construed as, for example, entailing happiness, freedom from fear and the ability to live a fuller life. However, many, though not all, participants also talked about recovery as hard or impossible to imagine for themselves. Discussion: The paper explores how both the imagining and the seeming inability to imagine their own recovery can be understood in relation to participants' self‐constructions and to culturally dominant notions of personhood and eating disorders. The implications of the analysis for therapeutic interventions are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.1011
Page Range: 25-36
Depositing User: Lin Bailey
Date Deposited: 17 May 2018 13:04
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:17
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21094

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