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Narratives from within ‘lockdown’: A qualitative exploration of the impact of COVID-19 confinement on individuals with anorexia nervosa

Rachael Hunter, Chloe Gibson

Appetite, Volume: 166, Start page: 105451

Swansea University Author: Rachael Hunter

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Abstract

ObjectivesThe COVID-19 pandemic and associated ‘lockdown’ confinement restrictions have resulted in multiple challenges for those living with eating disorders. This qualitative study aimed to examine the lived, psychosocial experiences of individuals with anorexia nervosa from within COVID-19 ‘lockd...

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Published in: Appetite
ISSN: 0195-6663
Published: Elsevier BV 2021
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58139
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Abstract: ObjectivesThe COVID-19 pandemic and associated ‘lockdown’ confinement restrictions have resulted in multiple challenges for those living with eating disorders. This qualitative study aimed to examine the lived, psychosocial experiences of individuals with anorexia nervosa from within COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ confinement.MethodsAudio-recorded semi -structured interviews were conducted online during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic during confinement with a purposive sample of 12 participants who identified as having Anorexia Nervosa. Interviews were transcribed and anonymous data analysed using Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).ResultsThree key themes with six contributory subthemes were identified. Key themes were: loss of control, support during confinement, and time of reflection on recovery. Theme content varied according to stage of recovery and current clinical management. Availability of ‘safe’ foods, increases in compensatory exercise and symptomology, and enhanced opportunities for “secrecy” were described.ConclusionsThese findings provide a unique insight for a vulnerable group from within COVID-19 confinement. The data demonstrated that the impact for individuals with anorexia nervosa has been broadly negative, and participants voiced concerns over the long-term effects of the pandemic on their recovery. The findings highlight the risks of tele-health support and an important role for health professionals in enhancing targeted support during, and after confinement.
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Eating disorders; Qualitative research; COVID-19
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Start Page: 105451