The impact of the father-daughter relationship on eating disorder treatment: A qualitative study




Scott, Shari Hughes

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The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of fathers and their adolescent daughters who were engaged in treatment for the daughter's eating disorder. Within the framework of qualitative and descriptive research, an emphasis was placed on how fathers and daughter experienced their relationship, how it might have been unique and different than other primary relationships, how each viewed attachment and individuation, and how each would facilitate the growth and development of their relationship to be helpful and supportive in the treatment of the eating disorder.

A volunteer/convenience sample was used to recruit 10 father-adolescent daughter pairs who were being treated for an eating disorder in a large metropolitan pediatric hospital. Face to face interviews were conducted with each father and daughter separately utilizing open-ended probes that were designed to illicit the participant's experiences of his/her relationship, particularly in the context of treatment. Interviews were transcribed verbatim by the researcher. Transcribed text was then read and re-read by the researcher until themes and patterns began to emerge. Separately from the researcher, a second data analyst read and re-read the transcripts, identifying concepts, themes, and patterns from an alternate point of view. Before final assignment of themes to the narrative data, the researcher and the independent data analyst organized and categorized the themes, allowing for patterns of sub-themes to come through the contextual narratives. Upon consensus of the researcher and the data analyst, six themes and 27 sub-themes were organized according to the six identified research questions: Attachment; Individuation; Window on the World; Unique Gifts: Mothers and Fathers; Hopes, Dreams, and Desires: Letting Down the Guard; and Voices of Experience.



Health and environmental sciences, Psychology, Eating disorder, Father-daughter