Anorexic Body: A Qualitative Study

Zenobia Chan, Joyce Ma


This study attempts to explore the anorexia nervosa (AN) patient's subjective experience in family therapy by employing a qualitative inquiry. The data collection process required the participant to review videotapes of her family sessions and then to write down her thoughts in response to a core research question: "What was your experience of the family therapy sessions?" We tried our best to minimize any possible influence from the research setting. Unexpectedly, a core idea about the anorexic body emerged from the patient's writings. This core idea was divided into four themes: (1) the development of the anorexic body; (2) the anorexic body and body weight; (3) the anorexic body and clothing; (4) maintaining the anorexic body. This study suggests that a qualitative client-driven approach can reveal the AN patient's perceptions of her body. Most importantly, this paper ends by providing recommendations for qualitative researchers: adopting a not-knowing position and being open to learn that knowledge can be found accidentally.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs030117


qualitative study; anorexia nervosa; body; family therapy; Hong Kong

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Copyright (c) 2003 Zenobia Chan, Joyce Ma

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