Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 14 Issue 6 (November/December 2004), Pages 411-510

Constructing ‘the eating disordered patient’: A discourse analysis of accounts of treatment experiences (pages 473-489)


In this study 39 participants who had all been hospitalized, either in Britain or Australia, at least once for anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia, were interviewed about their experiences of treatment for an eating disorder. Each interview lasted approximately 1 hour and was semi‐structured in nature covering: (i) the beginning of participants' problems and their initial diagnosis; (ii) their history of previous interventions; (iii) their current in‐patient treatment episode; (iv) their views on their recovery and future. Interview was audio‐tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. The resulting interview transcripts were then analysed qualitatively using a discourse analytic methodology in order to identify the ways in which participants discursively constituted their treatment experiences. More specifically, the article focuses on an analysis of how ‘the eating disordered patient’ was constituted in participants' accounts both as a self‐construction and as a construction attributed to healthcare workers. The implications of these subject im/positions of ‘the eating disordered patient’ are discussed. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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