Experiences of recovery in binge-eating disorder: a qualitative approach using online message boards
- 314 Downloads
In this study, qualitative methods were employed to analyze secondary data from the anonymous postings of a pro-recovery website in an effort to investigate the changes in thinking of binge-eating disorder (BED) sufferers who were able to recover from the disorder, understand more fully how guilt and self-blame affect recovery, and explore the perceived motivators and challenges to recovery.
681 messages from 65 participants pertaining to BED were analyzed from January 1, 2014–January 1, 2015 through thematic analysis. Coding strategies were employed to reveal patterns within the experiences of the participants.
The researchers identified three themes surrounding “changes in thinking” from analysis of the message board postings: admitting the disorder, recognizing unhealthy coping behaviors, and seeing recovery. Further analysis of postings suggested that guilt and self-blame hinder recovery by promoting a feedback cycle of binging, which leads to further guilt and self-blame. The data ultimately identified experiences that resulted in or hindered recovery. The experience of validation appeared to result in recovery; those who experienced validation were less inclined to engage in disordered eating behaviors. Conversely, weight loss or attempts at weight loss hindered recovery by ultimately promoting more disordered eating behaviors.
This qualitative analysis of message board postings offers authentic, credible data with a unique perspective. Practitioners working in the field of eating disorders such as registered dietitian nutritionists or therapists might use evidence from the data to guide their practice.
KeywordsBinge-eating disorder Content analysis Self-blame Recovery Validation
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all the authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
The online discussion group from which the postings were retrieved is free and accessible to anyone. Additionally, no form of registration was required to view the messages. Due to the anonymous nature of the website, the subjects “about” whom the data was collected are not identifiable, even to the researcher.
Due to the public, open, and anonymous nature of the forum and messages, this type of study did not require informed consent.
- 3.Anthony WA (1993) Recovery from mental illness: the guiding vision of the mental health service system in the 1990s. Psychosoc Rehabil J 16:11–23Google Scholar
- 5.American Psychiatric Association (2005) Position statement on the use of the concept of recovery. APA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- 6.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2004) National consensus statement on mental health recovery. US Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved July, 2016 from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA05-4129/SMA05-4129.pdf
- 7.President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003) Achieving the promise: transforming mental health care in America, final report. US Department of Health and Human Services, RockvilleGoogle Scholar
- 8.National Eating Disorders Association (2014) Recovery. New York, NY. Retrieved September, 2016 from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/recovery
- 9.Binge Eating Disorder Association (2016) The binge eating recovery process. Severna Park, MD. http://bedaonline.com/understanding-binge-eating-disorder/recovery-process/
- 11.Krentz A, Chew J, Arthur N (2005) Recovery from binge eating disorder. Can J Couns 39:118–136Google Scholar
- 19.Bardone-Cone AM, Harney MB, Maldonado CR, Lawson MA, Robinson DP, Smith R, Tosh A (2010) Defining recovery from an eating disorder: conceptualization, validation, and examination of psychosocial functioning and psychiatric comorbidity. Behav Res Ther 48:194–202. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2009.11.001 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 24.Linehan MM (1997) Validation and psychotherapy. In: Bohart AC, Greenberg LS (eds) Empathy reconsidered: new directions in psychotherapy. American Psychological Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- 30.National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders (2015) About eating disorders: binge eating disorder. National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders, Naperville, ILGoogle Scholar
- 31.Frances A (2012) DSM-5 is guide not bible—ignore its 10 worst changes. Psychology Today. Retrieved August, 2015 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dsm5-indistress/201212/dsm-5-is-guide-not-bible-ignore-its-ten-worst-changes
- 34.National Eating Disorder Association (2014) Binge eating disorder. National Eating Disorder Association, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
- 37.Lewer M, Nasrawi N, Schroeder D, Vocks S (2016) Body image disturbance in binge eating disorder: a comparison of obese patients with and without binge eating disorder regarding the cognitive, behavioral and perceptual component of body image. Eat Weight Disord-Stud 21:115–125. doi: 10.1007/s40519-015-0200-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 38.Linehan MM, Chen EY (2005) Dialectical behavior therapy for eating disorders. In: encyclopedia of cognitive behavior therapy. Springer, pp 168–171Google Scholar
- 41.Association for Size Diversity and Health (2016) The health at every size approach. Redwood City, CA. Retrieved July, 2016 from https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org/content.asp?id=76