Health professionals' attitude towards treating eating disorders: perspectives from clients and health professionals

Walker, Sarah (). Health professionals' attitude towards treating eating disorders: perspectives from clients and health professionals Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Walker, Sarah
Thesis Title Health professionals' attitude towards treating eating disorders: perspectives from clients and health professionals
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Jeanie Sheffield
Total pages 135
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The current study aimed to examine the attitudes of health professionals towards treating clients diagnosed with an eating disorder and whether these attitudes influenced their choices to work with this client group. In addition, this study explored whether the attitudes of health professionals impacted on the treatment experiences of clients diagnosed with an eating disorder. The research included both qualitative and quantitative methods. The preliminary study involved two focus groups: 1) clients, and 2) health professionals. Focus group transcripts were analysed using a Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) approach. Three domains were identified from the transcripts from the client focus group (n = 4) as follows: 1) therapeutic alliance, 2) reactions of others, 3) treatment modalities. Three domains emerged from the health professionals’ focus group (n = 20) as follows: 1) training and knowledge 2) countertransference reactions 3) lack of resources/time. The attitudes of 160 health professionals (nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers) towards treating eating disorders was explored in the main study by a survey which assessed a broad range of therapist attitudes and reactions to treating eating disorder clients, in addition to burnout levels and individual differences in generalised optimism and pessimism in the professionals. The current study found that health professionals had strong negative reactions towards treating eating disorders which perpetuated negative attitudes towards this population of clients. Professional groups varied in their preference for treating differing diagnostic groups. However, all professional groups rated personality disorders and eating disorders as the least preferred diagnostic groups to treat. The clinical implications are discussed with recommendations for future research.

 
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Created: Tue, 12 Apr 2011, 19:55:24 EST by Ms Sarah Walker on behalf of Scholarly Publishing and Digitisation Service