The Experience of Feeling Fat for Women with an Anorexia Nervosa Diagnosis: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Aim: The experience of feeling fat has been implicated as a maintenance factor in Anorexia Nervosa (AN); however, little research has been conducted into the experience. The present study aimed to explore the experience of feeling fat for women with an AN diagnosis. It was hoped that this would provide an insight into the experience of feeling fat and the ways it could be addressed within therapeutic interventions for AN. Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven women with an AN diagnosis. All participants were receiving therapy at the time of their interview. The verbatim transcripts from these interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in order to explore the lived experience of feeling fat for women with an AN diagnosis. Results: Four superordinate themes emerged from the analysis, these were: negative sense of self; feeling out of control; coping with feeling fat and the complex notion of feeling fat. These superordinate themes and corresponding subordinate themes are discussed. Implications: Feeling fat was found to be a significant experience for the adult women who participated within this study. This research highlights the importance of addressing the experience of feeling fat within therapeutic interventions for adult women with an AN diagnosis. The clinical relevance of these findings are explored.