Academic journal article Journal of Eating Disorders

Crossing the Finish Line: A Narrative Inquiry into the Role of Exercise in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

Academic journal article Journal of Eating Disorders

Crossing the Finish Line: A Narrative Inquiry into the Role of Exercise in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

Article excerpt

Author(s): Sarah Young[sup.1], Paul Rhodes[sup.1], Stephen Touyz[sup.1] and Phillipa Hay[sup.2]

The current study explored the role of exercise in the treatment and recovery process of Anorexia Nervosa (AN). 24 female participants completed the study: 10 women currently in treatment for AN; 7 partially recovered and 7 fully recovered, according to strict criteria. Participants undertook a structured interview assessing eating disorder psychopathology and a semi-structured interview where they were invited to share their story of their illness, with a focus on exercise. Narrative inquiry analyses revealed exercise can be a significant part of the individual's life in various stages - premorbidly, during the illness, in treatment and recovery processes. Analyses demonstrated important themes including: rapid transformation into compulsive exercise during AN; importance of containment processes during treatment, appropriate limit setting and accountability in early stages of recovery; and the resumption of healthy exercise in full recovery. Results were developed into a model of exercise depicting these themes. Clinical implications to support re-integrating healthy exercise in treatment include the use of psycho-education and structured exercise interventions in treatment services. …

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