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The aim of this study was to explore women's bodily experiences of suffering from eating difficulties (ED). The research question was: How do women who suffer from ED experience the bodily aspects related to their condition? Women suffering from ED experience problems in both the physical and emotional areas. Few qualitative studies have specifically addressed sufferers' bodily experiences related to ED. An explorative design was used. The data were collected by means of focus group interviews on the subject of ED-related problems, guilt and shame, and being a mother. The interpretation of the qualitative data was inspired by hermeneutic content analysis. The main theme, 'Powerful feelings of being trapped in and ashamed of one's own body', comprised two themes: 'The feeling of being trapped by overwhelming physical sensations' and 'The feeling of being ashamed of one's own body'. Bodily experiences were reported as strong. One clinical implication for nurses is to acknowledge this fact and make it possible for these women to articulate their difficulties, especially those connected to the feelings of being trapped and ashamed. Support groups focusing on these themes could be one way of assisting women and easing some of the negative feelings associated with ED.


Kristine Rørtveit, Sture Aström, Elisabeth Severinsson. The feeling of being trapped in and ashamed of one's own body: A qualitative study of women who suffer from eating difficulties. International journal of mental health nursing. 2009 Apr;18(2):91-9

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PMID: 19290972

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