A phenomenological study to explore mirror viewing in African American women with obesity



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Obesity is among the most preventable healthcare epidemics linked to multiple health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Unfortunately, African American women are disproportionately affected by obesity (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2020). Mirror exposure has been used to manage various eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating (Butler & Heimberg, 2020). A phenomenological study investigated the mirror viewing experience in African American women with obesity. The study was conducted in an urban multi-specialty clinic. African American women who self-identified as obese were interviewed. Data collected included their demographics, and semi-structured questions focused on the participants' mirror viewing experience. The data was analyzed using Ricoeur's (1981/2016) interpretive approach. Two environmental themes identified were (1) family and culture, and (2) stereotype/stigma and bias. The five phenomenological themes identified were: (1) I don’t like what I see, (2) the struggle is real, (3) camouflage, (4) call for action, (5) loving the skin you are in. The results generate new knowledge to understand the mirror viewing experience in African American women with obesity and nursing theory development.



Health Sciences, Nursing