A Qualitative Study of Friendship in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Possible Autism Spectrum DisorderReport as inadecuate




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Difficulties in friendships have been reported both in people with AutismSpectrum Disorder ASD and in individuals with Anorexia Nervosa AN. Thissmall-scale qualitative study aimed to evaluate the friendship experiences ofseven patients with AN who presented with possible ASD traits; to determinewhether their experiences were reflective of those found in people with ASD,and whether any difficulties were present before the onset of their eatingdisorder. Participants were interviewed using the ADOS-G and the interviewswere transcribed and analysed. Four principle themes emerged from the thematicanalysis: limited social network, lack of contact or communication, difficultyunderstanding the concept of friendship, and focus of attention away from theself; which could not be explained by the state of starvation alone. Theevidence presented here not only reflects the friendship experiences ofindividuals with AN as documented in the literature, but also the friendshipdifficulties which have been observed in people with ASD without a comorbideating disorder. The findings provide evidence that friendship difficultiesexperienced by people with AN precede the onset of the eating disorder andtherefore offer support for the idea of a shared phenotype between AN and ASD.This study also highlights the need to address friendship difficulties intreatment interventions for AN in order to promote recovery. Further researchis warranted to better explore the friendship similarities between people withAN and ASD, and to develop friendship focused interventions for patients withAN.

KEYWORDS

Anorexia Nervosa, Eating Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Friendship, Qualitative Study

Cite this paper

Doris, E. , Westwood, H. , Mandy, W. & Tchanturia, K. 2014. A Qualitative Study of Friendship in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Possible Autism Spectrum Disorder. Psychology, 5, 1338-1349. doi: 10.4236-psych.2014.511144.





Author: Eli Doris, Heather Westwood, William Mandy, Kate Tchanturia

Source: http://www.scirp.org/



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