The perceived value of social supportive practices for individuals managing eating disorders
MetadataShow full item record
Research indicates individuals living with eating disorders report dissatisfaction with the quality of social support they receive (Rorty, Yager, Buckwalter, & Rossotto, 1999; Tiller et al., 1997). The current study set out to understand the specific qualities of supportive interactions those with eating disorders report as dissatisfying, as well as the types of support perceived as beneficial. Through one-on-one interviews with 34 individuals managing eating disorders, the transcribed data indicate recurring forms and features of helpful and unhelpful social support that exist across and within three categories of support providers: healthcare professionals, friends and family members, and eating disorder peers. Helpful forms of social support identified across all three categories include: facilitate treatment, encourage elaboration, hold accountable, demonstrate compassion, and convey acceptance. Helpful features of support include competence and availability. Descriptive explanations of coded findings, as well as implications for application and future study are discussed.