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Shifting identities: exploring occupational identity for those in recovery from an eating disorder

Esther Dark (University of Derby, Derby, UK)
Sarah Carter (Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Derby, Derby, UK)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Publication date: 23 November 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature, transition and formation of occupational identity for those in recovery from eating disorders (EDs).

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured “episodic” interviews were carried out with six women, self-identifying in recovery from an ED. Narrative-type-analysis produced a distilled narrative of participants’ accounts, before use of thematic analysis compared and extracted pertinent themes.

Findings

During recovery from an ED, significant shifts occurred in occupational identities, moving from sole identification with the ED, to a greater understanding of self; facilitated by increased engagement in meaningful occupations, adapting occupational meaning, connecting with self and others and the importance of becoming and belonging.

Originality/value

This is the first known piece of research exploring occupational identity in relation to EDs. The findings are applicable to occupational therapists and add to the growing body of qualitative research into EDs.

Keywords

Citation

Dark, E. and Carter, S. (2019), "Shifting identities: exploring occupational identity for those in recovery from an eating disorder", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 127-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-07-2019-0054

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited