Exposing Tension: The Experience Of Friendships While Living With Bulimia Nervosa During Adolescence
The purpose of the present study was to explore the lived experience of friendships among women who were living with bulimia during adolescence. Researchers have found that friendships are influential to the complex and multi-factoral etiology of bulimia. Friendships influence adolescent girls’ self-esteem, body image, dieting, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorder symptoms, through bullying and peer teasing, appearance conversations, and group dieting. While living with bulimia, women have reported interpersonal problems, such as feeling unsupported within their relationships, having fewer friends compared to women who have not lived with bulimia, and isolating themselves from others. There has been limited exploration surrounding the experiences of friendships while living with bulimia, particularly during adolescence. Interpretative phenomenological analysis guided the exploration of three young women’s experience of friendships while they lived with bulimia during adolescence. These women ranged in age from 21 to 25 years. They were recruited via purposive sampling and data were generated through photo elicitation and in-depth interviews. The analyzed data formed one over-arching theme: Tension, which appeared throughout the three super-ordinate themes: The Self-in-Relation to Friends while Living with Bulimia, Friendships in the Shadow of Bulimia, and Internal Conflicts in the Relational Self. These themes were discussed within the context of the current literature followed by recommendations for future research, considerations for mental health professionals, and a conclusion, which included words of wisdom from the participants.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramSchool and Counselling Psychology
CommitteeNicol, Jennifer; Kalyn, Brenda
Copyright DateMay 2013
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis