Clinicians’ views on treatment adaptations for men with eating disorders: a qualitative study

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Despite traditional views of eating disorders as a female illness, there is a growing body of evidence that the incidence rate of eating disorders in men in rising. Research suggests that these men may experience unique symptoms and difficulties, however, it is unclear how these unique needs may impact treatment. The aim of this study was to explore clinicians’ views on whether men have gender-specific treatment needs, and how far these needs require treatment adaptations.
Qualitative interview study using framework analysis to explore the experiences of clinicians working with men with eating disorders.
Outpatient NHS eating disorder service in London.
Ten clinicians from a variety of clinical backgrounds participated in the study.
The following three themes emerged: male specific issues identified by clinicians, treatment approaches used for this population, and the importance of creating a male friendly environment. Male specific issues identified by participants included an increased focus on muscularity and difficulty expressing or discussing emotion. Clinicians also suggested that men may be more likely to adopt a performance based approach to. This was linked by clinicians to the impact of cultural perceptions of masculinity on their patients. Clinicians in this study felt that these individual needs could be met by adapting existing approaches within a supportive, male-friendly environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere021934
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Early online date5 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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