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A Qualitative Exploration of a Faith Based Support Group for Women With Eating Disorders
Faith is associated with fewer health risk behaviors, decreased psychology distress, anxiety, depression, and increased coping skills and self-esteem.
This experiment followed the experience of faith based support groups for five women with eating disorders.
The experiment tested whether or not the women identified a need for relational growth in their relationship with god and others.
Five Caucasian women between the ages of 20-28
Scored above the clinical cut-off of the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale (DSM-5)
One participant was diagnosed Bulimic
One participant was diagnosed Anorexic
One participant was diagnosed unknown eating disorder
One participant was diagnosed with major depression, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
All identified as Christians
All participants were recruited through non-denominational christian church bulletins.
All participants were screened through and Eating Disorder Examination questionnaire and were required to score a 1.5 or higher to participate.
Met once a week for two hours under the supervision of a doctoral student and a licensed psychologist, both non-denominational christian.
All participants were encouraged to get individual therapy and medical care as needed.
Participants filled out open ended responses to measure their growth through-out the experiment.
Participants received no compensation.
Regularly asked questions about history with eating disorder and recovery through free response.
Used a curriculum through the book "Finding Balance with Food".
The curriculum used a mixture of the author's autobiography and a twelve week workbook with bible passages.
The book and the experiment were based around a Protestant Christian world-view.
The experiment found that the participants fell under four different categories with their disorders: relentlessness, escapism, imprisonment, and a need for growth in their relationships.
In the end shared faith made the participants feel safer to share and also more understood which led to a better recovery.
Participants felt growth in their relationship with God and others, and also experienced an increase in self-efficiency, connectedness, and hope.
Pivarunas, Bernadette. “A Qualitative Exploration of a Faith-Based Support Group for Women with Disordered Eating.” Pastoral Psychology, vol. 65, no. 2, Dec. 2015, pp. 215–225.,
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