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Investigating service users’ perspectives of eating disorder services: A meta-synthesis

Babb, Charli ORCID:, Jones, Catherine R. G. ORCID: and Fox, John R. E. ORCID: 2022. Investigating service users’ perspectives of eating disorder services: A meta-synthesis. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy 29 (4) , pp. 1276-1296. 10.1002/cpp.2723

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Objective: Despite a number of qualitative studies published from the perspective of eating disorder (ED) service users, there has been no attempt to exclusively synthesise their views to gain a fuller understanding of their ED service experiences. It is important to understand this perspective, since previous research highlights the difficulties ED healthcare professionals report when working with this client group. Method: A systematic search of the literature was conducted to identify qualitative studies focusing on experiences of ED services from the perspective of service users. Twenty-two studies met the inclusion criteria and underwent a quality appraisal check using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tool for qualitative research. These were then synthesised using a meta-synthesis approach. Results: Four overarching themes were generated: ‘Treatment: Focus on physical vs. psychological symptoms’; ‘Service Environment: The role of control within services’; ‘Staff: Experiences with staff and the value of rapport’; and ‘Peer Influence: Camaraderie vs. comparison’. Service users expressed a desire for more psychological input to tackle underlying difficulties relating to their ED. A complex relationship with feelings of control was described, with some feeling over-controlled by service providers, while others retrospectively recognised the need for control to be taken away. Staff values, knowledge and trust played a significant role in treatment and recovery. Peers with an ED were described to be a valuable source of understanding and empathy, but some found peer influence to perpetuate comparison and competitiveness. Discussion: The results portray some of the conflicts and complexities that service users encounter in ED services. A running thread throughout is the perceived importance of adopting an individualised approach within these services.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons
ISSN: 1063-3995
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 4 February 2022
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2023 17:02

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