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Fathers’ experiences of their sons’ eating disorder


This study aims to explore fathers’ experiences of their sons’ eating disorders.

What is the purpose of the research?

This research forms the basis of a counselling psychology doctorate thesis.  There is currently a lack of research considering fathers’ experiences when they have a son with an eating disorder.  Without any research, we cannot know how to effectively support fathers, and whether their needs, if any, are being met.  In a situation where little is understood or known about a phenomenon, a good starting point is to simply give fathers an opportunity to voice their experience, should they wish to. The knowledge gained can contribute towards raising awareness about fathers’ experiences and potential needs. This could help tailor support services to fathers who have sons experiencing an eating disorder. This study has received ethical approval.

Who can take part?

I will be interviewing fathers (aged 18 and over) whose sons experienced an eating disorder between the ages 16 and 24 years (current or past).  A formal diagnosis of an eating disorder is not necessary. This study understands an eating disorder as “serious emotional and physical illnesses in which sufferers use food and sometimes exercise in different ways to manage difficult circumstances in their lives and the feelings that come with them” (Men Get Eating Disorders Too, n. d.). A good grasp of the English language is required.

What does the study involve?

The study involves a one-to-one interview of approximately 1 – 1.5 hours. Interviews would be face-to-face, at an agreed location and timing that suits you.

Study recruitment flyer – download Word doc

Confidentiality and use of data

Your confidentiality and consent are very important. The interview will be recorded using a digital recorder and this will be transcribed (typed up) word for word by the researcher. During the transcription process any identifying information will be removed, and your name will be replaced by an unidentifiable pseudonym.

How can someone take part?

If you are interested in taking part or have any further questions, please contact the researcher, Kirsty Manning, by email:

Director of studies: Dr Russel Ayling,

Supervisor: Helen Damon,