King's College London

Research portal

An Exploration of Social Functioning in Young People with Eating Disorders: A Qualitative Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0159910
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2016


  • An Exploration of Social Functioning_PATEL_Accepted 11Jul2016_GOLD VoR

    An_Exploration_of_Social_Functioning_PATEL_Accepted_11Jul2016_GOLD_VoR.pdf, 359 KB, application/pdf


    Final published version

    CC BY

    © 2016 Patel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

King's Authors


Previous research indicates adults with eating disorders (EDs) report smaller social networks, and difficulties with social functioning, alongside demonstrating difficulties recognising and regulating emotions in social contexts. Concurrently, those recovered from the illness have discussed the vital role offered by social support and interaction in their recovery. To date, little is known about the social skills and social networks of adolescents with EDs and this study aimed to conduct focus groups to explore the social functioning of 17 inpatients aged 12-17. Data were analysed using thematic analysis and six core themes were identified: group belonging, self-monitoring, social sensitivity, impact of hospitalisation, limited coping strategies and strategies for service provision. Key areas for service provision were: management of anxiety, development and/or maintenance of a social network and development of inter and intrapersonal skills. The most salient finding was that adolescents with EDs reported social difficulties which appeared to persist over and above those typically experienced at this point in the lifespan and therefore a key area for future focus is the development of appropriate coping strategies and solutions to deal with these reported difficulties.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454