"All eyes are on you": anorexia nervosa patient perspectives of in-patient mealtimes

J Health Psychol. 2012 Apr;17(3):419-28. doi: 10.1177/1359105311419270. Epub 2011 Aug 25.


The aim of this qualitative study was to investigate in-patient perceptions of mealtimes on eating disorders units. Individual interviews were conducted with 12 women with anorexia nervosa. Using thematic analysis, three themes emerged as important: 1) Mealtime delivery (logistical factors influencing meals); 2) Individual outcomes (cognitions, emotions, behaviours and physical sensations during meals); and 3) Mealtime characteristics (including disengagement, perceived battlegrounds, and a desire for involvement in mealtimes). Future research should focus on areas of treatment delivery identified as important by patients. Recommendations are made regarding mealtime protocols based on patients' views, with increased recognition of behavioural, cognitive, physical and emotional aspects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Food Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult