Other than obedient: Girls' constructions of doctors and treatment regimes for anorexia nervosa

Desiree BOUGHTWOOD, Christine Margaret HALSE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines how teenage girls diagnosed with and being treated for anorexia nervosa in hospital construct their anorexia, their identity as patients, medical authority and their doctors. In-depth interviews were conducted with 25 adolescent girls in two large, metropolitan hospitals in Australia. Using a discourse analytic approach informed by poststructural theory, we elucidate how girls perform as patients, contest the authoritative position of doctors and deploy popular, taken-for-granted discourses of femininity to resist treatment regimes and the construction of themselves by others as ‘anorexic’ and ‘sick’. Our analysis indicates that medical discourses in the hospital do not necessarily define or delimit girls' constructions of themselves, of anorexia, treatment or their relationships with doctors. The paper argues that understanding and validating girls' perspectives is essential in building and maintaining a therapeutic alliance in hospitals. We conclude by discussing how insights from poststructural analysis can assist in improving hospital practice. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-94
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

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anorexia
Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia
discourse
Femininity
Therapeutics
Urban Hospitals
femininity
Nuclear Family
Interviews
adolescent
interview

Citation

Boughtwood, D., & Halse, C. (2010). Other than obedient: Girls' constructions of doctors and treatment regimes for anorexia nervosa. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 20(2), 83-94.

Keywords

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Adolescence
  • Discourse
  • Doctors
  • Girls
  • Hospital
  • Poststructuralism
  • Therapeutic alliance