Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services

Committee Director

Ed Neukrug

Committee Member

Angela L. Eckhoff

Committee Member

Alan M. Schwitzer


Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a serious mental health concern in the United States, with the highest mortality rate of all mental disorders. Females comprise the vast majority of people with AN, although the number of males with the condition is rising. Anorexia Nervosa has a high relapse rate and is often enduring, which makes it challenging to treat successfully; therefore, the mental health profession is in need of innovative therapeutic approaches. Exposure therapy has a growing evidence base for the treatment of eating disorders, including AN; however, there are very few studies that explore body image/mirror exposure specifically in patients with AN. Further, the existing quantitative and qualitative research studies present several methodological limitations, which prompts in depth exploration of this intervention for its specific use with anorexic patients. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), the present study explored the experiences of women diagnosed with AN who participated in a novel application of body image/mirror exposure therapy in a naturalistic setting, focusing on the meaning they attributed to the intervention as part of their recovery from AN. The findings may support enhancement of the treatment protocol and inform future outcome studies on the efficacy of using body image/mirror exposure for AN.


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