Intervention to Improve Self-Esteem in those with Eating Disorders

Abstract

The intention of this study was to examine the relationship between self-esteem and eating disorders and creating an intervention to increase self-esteem and decrease the amount of people diagnosed with an eating disorder. In the study we are focusing specifically on anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is a serious and a potential life-threatening eating disorder which is characterized by the person starving themselves leading to tremendous weight loss (Anorexia Diagnosis, n.d.).

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The individual sees themselves as though they are overweight, when they are underweight. This study will extend research on anorexia and self-esteem because we will be measuring both the control and the experimental group readiness with the Anorexia Nervosa Stages of Change Questionnaire (ANSOCQ) on where they stand on getting better and determining if self-esteem is in any way the casual of eating disorders increasing. The participants will be 100 randomly assigned female young adults from an eating disorder center. They will be split randomly into two groups with one getting the two-month intervention and the others following their regular treatment. The main reason for this study is to see if the intervention will affect the participants in a positive way and help increase their self-esteem as they battle and try to overcome their eating disorder. The expected results are that those who received the intervention will have an increase in self-esteem and their readiness to get better will also increase, unlike those who did not by showing little to no change.

Keywords: self-esteem; intervention; anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; ANSOCQ

Intervention to Improve Self-Esteem in Those with Eating Disorders

Introduction

Background

According to Eating Disorders: About More Than Food (n.d.) the mental disorder with the highest mortality rate is anorexia nervosa. It states that anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which an individual sees themselves as though they are overweight, when they are underweight. That causes individuals with that condition to obsess over what they consume therefore only eating very small quantities and excessive exercise. Individuals with anorexia tend to starve themselves to feel some sense of control over their body. (Eating Disorders, n.d.).

In the article Prevalence and treatment of eating disorders among Hispanics/Latino Americans in the United States Perez (2016) states that recent research on lifetime prevalence rates of eating disorder among Hispanics/Latinos within the US is 0.08% for anorexia nervosa, which is significantly lower when compared with non-Hispanic White samples (0.39%) in the US (Perez, Ohrt, Hoek, 2016). The authors suggest that there is some type of Latino culture that protects the further development of anorexia nervosa.

There have been various studies that confirm low self-esteem is a factor of vulnerability for eating disorders (Obeid, 2013). According to that article self-esteem is having confidence in one’s self and accepting yourself how you are. If there is a relationship with self-esteem and eating disorders, will doing an intervention to help increase self-esteem work to decrease eating disorders?

Literature Review

In a recent study conducted by Collin (2016) he explored the relationship between multi-dimensional self-esteem and eating disorder symptoms in an inpatient treatment. Collins results indicated that only some aspects of self-esteem were relevant in eating disorder outcomes. One aspect of self-esteem that results did show effect in the relationship between self-esteem and eating disorders was body appearance. The results suggested that the relationship between self-esteem and anorexia is not directly weight loss but rather everything else that goes on (Collin, Karatzias, Power, Howard, Grierson, & Yellowlees, 2016).

Another recent study done by Mendelson, B. K., (2002) explores the differences of someone’s self-esteem who has an eating disorder versus someone who does not. That study was aimed to clarify the relationship of self-esteem and body-esteem on both eating disordered and noneating disordered participants by using a multidimensional measure. The women who had an eating disorder scored lower on both body esteem and self-esteem than the ones who don’t suffer from eating disorders. This study came to show that self-esteem is dependent on body esteem to women with eating disorders (Mendelson, B. K., McLaren, L., Gauvin, L., & Steiger, H., 2002).

The results of another study from the article The Thinner the Better suggested that patients with Anorexia Nervosa benefited from having low body weight in the time of the disorder. It stated that their satisfaction of a motive of achievement (such as getting thinner) increased instead of decreased the self-esteem of patients with anorexia Nervosa. However, once the patient recovered from anorexia, their body weight and self-esteem did not seem to correlate with one another. Even then when they compared the scores of the healthy women who have never had anorexia with the ones who have the self-esteem scores were still low (Brockmeyer, Holrforth, Bents, Kammerer, Herzog, Friedrich, 2013)

The purpose of the current study is to do an intervention to increase self-esteem in women that are struggling with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa. The current study will measure the change in an individual’s self-esteem before and after the experimental study takes place within the two-month period. This study will extend research on anorexia and self-esteem because I will be measuring both the control and the experimental group readiness on where they stand on getting better and determining if self-esteem is in any way the casual of eating disorders increasing. It is expected that the group given the intervention will show an increase in self-esteem after unlike the group who will not be getting the intervention.

Method

Research Design

 This will be an experimental study. The design of the experiment will be independent measures. One group will require to have one intervention meeting every week for two months, while the other group will not have any intervention whatsoever.

Participants

The participants for this experimental group will be 100 female young adults recruited from an eating recovery center. The 100 females will be picked randomly from the association. The participants chosen can choose to take place on the experiment or not. Not participating will not affect their treatment. They will be split in two different groups and will be randomly assigned. One group being the control group and the other the group getting the intervention. The criteria for the participants to be assigned to join is for the individual to be a female who has been diagnosed to have an eating disorder within the ages 15-25.

Materials

Survey. Will measure individual’s self-esteem and self-image of themselves. To be taken in both groups on first and last day of the experimental study to see if there are any positive changes.

Anorexia Nervosa Stages of Change Questionnaire. (ANSOCQ) This questionnaire will help us determine what patients are ready to recover from anorexia and which are not. It will help us see if there is a change on their readiness whether they went through the intervention or not. Everyone will answer the questionnaire in both groups on both meeting times.

The ANSOCQ determines whether the participants are in the precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, or maintenance stage of being ready to change multiple things of their anorexic characterized symptoms (Rieger, Touvz, Beumont, 2002). This questionnaire provides a strong support for the psychometric properties (reliability and validity). The development of it proves to have a reliable, valid, and a clinically informative way of showing a patient’s readiness on changing their anorexia nervosa symptoms (Rieger, Touvz, Beumont, 2002).

Procedure

Female participants from an eating recovery center will be picked at random to take a part of this study. The research study will be conducted by the researcher, and researcher assistants. All 100 of the participants will be asked to answer a survey on self-esteem and the ANSOCQ on the first day in meeting room all together and once done they can leave. Fifty of those participants will be randomly selected and chosen to get the once a week intervention for two months. The other fifty will be asked to come back in two months from the first day. On the last day all 100 are to meet at the same time at the meeting room and will be given a survey on self-esteem again as well as the ANSOCQ. The results will only be shared with those whose self-esteem increases after the intervention, in hope that seeing good results they will want to keep on getting interventions every other month until their self-esteem is stable, and they can feel comfortable in their bodies without damaging themselves.

Expected Findings

It is expected that the group given the intervention will show an increase in self-esteem after unlike the group who will not be getting the intervention. It is also expected that those who were a part of the intervention who showed that they were not ready to recover will show otherwise the second time they take the ANSOCQ. 

Discussion

The main reason for this study is to see if the intervention will affect the participants in a positive way and help increase their self-esteem as they battle and try to overcome their eating disorder. Eating disorders are not something to joke around or ignore. This study is meant to show that eating disorders are to be taken seriously and that someone around you could be going through it at the moment.

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