Rachel Quong and Shu-Ping Chen* Pages 33 - 46 ( 14 )
Background: Caregivers of individuals with Eating Disorders (EDs) undergo significant caregiver burden and stress. Although the literature suggests that caregivers of eating disorders are significant supports in the client’s recovery and relapse prevention, they receive limited research.
Objective: This study explored the lived experience of caregivers of individuals with eating disorders.
Method: Noblit and Hare’s (1998) seven-step meta-ethnographic method was used to identify and consolidate the main themes across qualitative studies, which then supported the creation of a conceptual model of the caregiver experience.
Results: Caregivers of individuals with eating disorders undergo a dynamic experience where three mutually influencing external factors of perceived barriers, healthcare experience and perceived support influence an internal reaction which then impacts the caregiver’s output behaviors. Within their output behaviors, caregivers engage in two coexisting continuums of acceptance and coping. Demonstration of recognition, acknowledgement, personal growth, and hope indicate that caregivers have reached the final stages of acceptance and coping.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that caregivers experience two simultaneous transformative learning processes of acceptance and coping. Numerous barriers such as stigma and difficulties accessing the healthcare system may slow these transformative learning processes. These findings revealed that both clinicians and social networks can become more effective in supporting ED caregivers.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, qualitative research, perceived barriers and supports, development of acceptance, process of coping.
Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G2G4, Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G2G4