Anorexic Body: A Qualitative Study

  • Zenobia Chan Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Joyce Ma Chinese University of Hong Kong
Keywords: qualitative study, anorexia nervosa, body, family therapy, Hong Kong


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


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Zenobia Chan, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Zenobia CHAN, Registered Nurse, Master of Primary Health Care, PhD Candidate of Department of Social Work at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Joyce Ma, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Joyce MA, Social Worker, PhD, Clinical Member of AAMFT, Chair & Professor of Department of Social Work at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
How to Cite
Chan, Z., & Ma, J. (2003). Anorexic Body: A Qualitative Study. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 4(1).