It is difficult for individuals with eating disorders (EDs) to build and maintain motivation to recover. This challenge contributes to high rates of treatment dropout and relapse. To date, motivational interventions have been largely ineffective, and there is little research on factors that affect recovery motivation. To better understand recovery motivation and identify potential intervention targets, this study examines factors that affect recovery motivation in individuals with EDs.
N = 13 participants completed qualitative interviews. All had been recovered from their diagnosed and treated ED for at least 1 year. We applied thematic analysis to interview transcripts in order to identify factors that had influenced recovery motivation and to classify their effects as helpful, harmful, or mixed.
Six main themes were identified, with subthemes detailed under each: (a) important people and groups (e.g., social circle, mentor), (b) actions and attitudes of others (e.g., judgmental responses, failure to intervene), (c) treatment‐related factors (e.g., therapeutic skills, therapeutic alliance), (d) influential circumstances (e.g., removing triggers, pregnancy/children), (e) personal feelings and beliefs (e.g., obligation to others, hope for the future), and (f) the role of epiphanies (i.e., sudden insights or moments of change).
In this study, we identified potentially malleable factors that may affect ED recovery motivation (e.g., removing triggers, focusing on obligation to others, getting involved in meaningful causes, securing non‐judgmental support, building hope for the future). These factors may be investigated as potential targets or strategies in motivational interventions for EDs.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.