Recovery from anorexia nervosa: The patient’s perspective

Meirav Shahar, Yael Latzer, Eli Buchbinder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The majority of research data regarding recovery from anorexia nervosa (AN) relates to the therapists’ perspective rather than to the patients’ point of view. The few studies that documented the meaning and the supportive factors of recovery from the patients’ perspective raised an important and significant understanding of the recovery process. The aim of the present study is to extend this scope of understanding from the patient’s point of view, using qualitative methodology based on the phenomenological approach as a theoretical foundation. The key research questions were: How do women who recovered from AN experience the recovery process, and what meaning do they attach to this experience? The study was based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 18 women who had recovered from AN about five years prior to the interview. The study findings show that the participants perceived recovery as resulting from a combination psychosocial and physical symptom changes (internal and external). They emphasized the gradual, stage-by-stage recovery process, starting with mental changes, moving through cognitive-behavioral, occupational, social and familial changes, and ending with physical changes and final relief from the symptoms. The study findings constitute the basis for a model that presents the whole range of discriminate factors for recovery from AN. The proposed model is unique, especially with regard to the definition of recovery from the patient’s perspective. Clinical implications are discussed in light of the new findings presented, and recommendations for future research are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTreatment and Recovery of Eating Disorders
EditorsD. Stein, Y. Latzer
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781614704188
ISBN (Print)9781628082487
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Eating disorders
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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