Disordered Eating in first year university students: A qualitative study exploring student and support service needs

John James Power, Anne Lazenbatt

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Abstract

The study reports on a qualitative study exploring disordered eating in younger first-year students studying for professional health care related degrees (n=12), and illustrates some of the support mechanisms and services required to better support these students. Key issues emerging in relation to disordered eating included: lack of understanding to the nature/ risks associated; its use as a stress coping mechanism; isolation; perception as mental health issues with attaching stigma and reticence to acknowledge; concealed experience; wariness of eating in more public refectories. Finally positivity about their arrival at university and that their experience with disordered eating could potentially add to their repertoire as future health care professionals. The University could; further develop its outreach to new students with a more consistently supportive program including stress training and more support via student buddying; extend its program on positive mental health; greater awareness particularly the sub-clinical group; consider some small changes and adaptations to the refectory eating areas to better facilitate at- risk students. Significantly the University could perhaps better use the first few months of student's arrival at university to help embed a program to develop a stronger sense of coherence and wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing & Clinical Practices
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2015

Keywords

  •  Disordered eating  University students  Fresher’s

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