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European Eating Disorders Review Eur. Eat. Disorders Rev. 14, 43–53 (2006) Understanding Intimacy for Women with Anorexia Nervosa: A Phenomenological Approach

By M. Newton, S. Boblin, B. Brown and D. Ciliska


Intimacy is considered as an essential aspect of ‘ideal ’ romantic relationships and Western culture, in particular, places a strong emphasis on its value. Despite this, intimacy has been largely unexamined for women with anorexia nervosa (AN). This phenomenological study sought to describe the subjective experiences of intimacy for this group of women; a purposive sample of 11 participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Whereas previous research has drawn little attention to the contextual factors that support intimate and non-intimate experiences for women with AN, participants in this study were able to identify what intimacy meant to them, their experiences with intimacy and what they needed within their romantic relationships to be intimate. The women’s meanings and experiences with intimacy were consistent with generalized conceptualizations of emotional and physical closeness, and companionship through parenting. These findings augment current research, and may better assist in tailoring specific interventions to foster intimacy and minimiz

Year: 2014
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