Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The connection between spirituality and recovery from bulimia nervosa
by Tramontana, Zaccario M., Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2008, 224; 3338876
Abstract (Summary)

The connection between spirituality and recovery from various mental disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, and addictions such as alcoholism and drug abuse, has been well established. However, there is little literature which explores a relationship between spirituality and recovery from eating disorders. Moreover, the literature which does exist on this subject is not explicit as to how the connection between spirituality and recovery from various eating disorders occurs or how it operates.

This multiple case study examined how and why the connection between spirituality and recovery occurred among three female participants who recovered from bulimia nervosa. Criteria for participation were a minimum of one year of recovery from eating disorder behavior and 18 years or older. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews, archival records (journals), documentation (letters from friends, family, or significant persons), follow-up phone interviews, and the Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS).

The findings of the study showed that for the three participants spirituality was a critical component of their recovery from bulimia nervosa. All of the participants felt that a belief in God or higher power; regular use of spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditative exercises (e.g., deep-breathing and quiet walks in nature), and meaningful relationships; and being proactive in their use of spiritually-oriented coping skills greatly contributed to their recovery. All three participants scored above average to very high on all three components of the SWBS, including the Religious Well-Being and Existential Well-Being subscales as well as the overall SWBS compared to a meta-analysis of 21 studies which utilized the SWBS. This dissertation suggests that incorporating spiritual beliefs or practices into the recovery process may be beneficial for people suffering from bulimia nervosa.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lukoff, David
Commitee: Ravicz, Simone, Riebel, Linda
School: Saybrook University
Department: Humanistic & Transpersonal Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Developmental psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Bulimia, Bulimia nervosa, Case-study, Eating disorders, Qualitative, Recovery, Spirituality
Publication Number: 3338876
ISBN: 978-0-549-93720-3
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