Joint narratives of couples living with anorexia through a Foucauldian lens

Kumar, Suchika Ramesh (2023). Joint narratives of couples living with anorexia through a Foucauldian lens. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.

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Existing literature on women with anorexia points to romantic relationships with their partners as an important factor to examine, as relationships are thought to either contribute to the maintenance of the anorexia or to serve as one of the key factors that contributes to recovery. Control and power have emerged as key issues in the literature on anorexia and romantic relationships. The present study aims to understand how couples’ sense-making of anorexia impacts on how they relate with each other and with the anorexia, and how this evolves over time. The study also aims to do this in the context of dominant discourses in society around eating disorders and relationships.
Five couples where a female partner has been diagnosed with anorexia were jointly and individually interviewed using an unstructured, narrative interview. Data were analysed using Foucauldian-informed Narrative Analysis (FNA).
Four narrative chapters arose from the data, namely, Gradual development of understanding of anorexia in the context of societal discourses around thinness, gender, and mental and physical health; Anorexia as the interplay between power and powerlessness; Navigating shifts in power and helplessness within the relationship; Resolution and rebalancing of power.
The results highlight several implications for research and practice centering around the importance of acknowledging the powerlessness that underlies the need for control in an effort to combat shaming dominant discourses around anorexia and control.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology, Department of Clinical Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)


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