Aims: This qualitative study aimed to develop the first cognitive behavioural therapy model outlining the development and maintenance of disordered eating in type 1 diabetes and report on recovery strategies and resilience factors to improve previous theoretical models of type 1 diabetes and disordered eating. Methods: Twenty-three women (n = 9 with type 1 diabetes and disordered eating, n = 5 with type 1 diabetes recovering from disordered eating, and n = 9 with type 1 diabetes without disordered eating) participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using grounded theory and individual cognitive–behavioural formulations were developed for each participant to inform the development/maintenance and resilience models. Results: The development/maintenance model summarises commonly experienced vicious cycles of thoughts, feelings and behaviours in type 1 diabetes and disordered eating. The resilience model summarises strategies and knowledge acquired by those with type 1 diabetes in recovery from disordered eating and individuals with type 1 diabetes who did not develop disordered eating. Early adverse life events, past psychiatric history, perfectionist personality traits, difficult experiences around type 1 diabetes diagnosis and its relentless daily management sensitise individuals to eating, weight and shape cues. Alongside physical symptoms/complications, unhelpful interpersonal reactions and inadequate healthcare, vicious cycles of thoughts, feelings and behaviours develop. ‘Good enough’ psychological adaptation to type 1 diabetes, integrating type 1 diabetes into one's identity, self care and compassion around eating, weight and shape were key protective/post-traumatic resilience factors. Conclusions: This first cognitive behavioural therapy model of type 1 diabetes and disordered eating informed by personal experience will inform an intervention for type 1 diabetes and disordered eating.
- cognitive behavioural therapy
- disordered eating
- type 1 diabetes mellitus