As part of a larger, mixed-methods study, we posted an invitation to participate in a study on the effects of reading eating disorder memoirs on the website of an organization that provides support for people with eating disorders. Twenty-four women completed the questionnaire. Qualitative analysis of their responses indicated a recovery continuum, whereby the direction of memoir influence seemed to depend on an individual's recovery stage and motivation to recover. Individuals who reported that they were exposed to memoirs before, or during, their illness reported experiencing negative consequences including making unfavorable social comparisons, along with emulation and triggering of disordered behaviors, whereas those who reported being exposed when in recovery reported more positive outcomes including hope, validation, and social support. Findings have implications for the use of personal accounts as a means of facilitating patient recovery in eating disorder treatment settings. Future research should test the influence of memoirs using a larger eating disorder sample, and across different recovery stages.
- Qualitative research
- eating disorders