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Emotional development in eating disorders: a qualitative meta-synthesis

Henderson, Ziporah B., Fox, John R E, Trayner, Penny and Wittkowski, Anja 2019. Emotional development in eating disorders: a qualitative meta-synthesis. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy 26 (4) , pp. 440-457. 10.1002/cpp.2365

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Emotions are considered to be an important feature in eating disorders. The present study aimed to conduct a systematic review and metasynthesis of qualitative studies, which considered the role of emotions in eating disorders in order to gain further insight on how these individuals experience various emotions and the strategies they use to manage them. Databases including Web of Science, PsychInfo, EMBASE, Medline, and the Cochrane library were searched for qualitative studies. The search identified 16 relevant studies. Meta‐ethnography was used to synthesize the data, which involved identifying the key findings and concepts of the studies and creating metaphors. The synthesis involved reciprocal translations and lines of argument approaches being applied to the present data. Results of the synthesis identified four second‐order themes and one third‐order theme relating to the emotional experiences of such individuals. The second‐order themes were (a) negative emotional environments, (b) interpersonal vulnerability, (c) the experience of negative emotions in social contexts, and (d) the management of emotions. The third‐order theme was the emotional self within a social environment. This is the first metasynthesis on emotions and eating disorders, and our synthesis highlights the important role that emotions play in the development and maintenance of eating disorders. Our model demonstrates how poor emotional development whilst growing up results in development of poor socioemotional bonds and the inability to handle negative emotions. The most significant finding of the review is that individuals use their eating disorder to manage negative emotions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1063-3995
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 5 March 2019
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2019 12:14

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