Monday, January 19, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.
Room 203, Graduate Student Centre, (6371 Crescent Road), UBC Point Grey Campus
Title: “Intimate Partner Relationships and Recovery From an Eating Disorder?”
Supervisor: Dr. Beth Haverkamp (CNPS)
Supervisory Committee: Dr. Judith Daniluk (CNPS) & Dr. Victoria Smye (Nursing, University of Ottawa)
University Examiners: Dr. Richard Young (CNPS) and Dr. Sheila Marshall (Social Work)
External Examiner: Dr. Ruth Fassinger (University of Maryland)
It is well established in the empirical, clinical, and theoretical literatures that close relationships influence adult women’s recovery from an eating disorder (ED), and research has consistently identified intimate partners as key figures in this process. Despite this recognition, very little is known about women’s lived experiences of their intimate partner relationships as a support during recovery, or the meanings they attribute to this experience. The current qualitative study employed a hermeneutic phenomenological method to address this gap in knowledge. The research question guiding this inquiry was: “what is the meaning and lived experience of intimate partner relationships in supporting women’s recovery from an eating disorder?” Ten adult women completed qualitative research interviews. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and a thematic analysis was conducted. Five common themes characterizing the women’s lived experience of the phenomenon of intimate partner relationships supporting recovery were identified: Sense of Safety, Sense of Mutual Commitment, Communication as Facilitative, Intimacy, and Sense of Identity Beyond the Eating Disorder. Significant findings are discussed within the context of existing literature on adult women’s experiences of an ED and recovery. Implications for theory, practice, and research are addressed, and recommendations for future research are identified.