The effects of eating disorders on males: a narrative approach

Research suggests that 15%-43% of males are dissatisfied with their bodies (Garner, 1997), however, even with recent research revealing that males suffer display similar behaviors as females, the lived experiences of the male population still goes unnoticed. This study examined the lived experiences of four males with eating disorders, through a narrative approach, and the struggle they endured and are currently enduring. In-depth interviews were conducted, transcribed and analyzed. The findings of this study showed that males are influenced by the media, through the images of unattainable body types. They have and feel the negative effects of the stigma associated with males with eating disorders. The findings also showed that there are almost no services available that are tailored to the needs of males with eating disorders. These findings hope to provide social workers with more knowledge on males with eating disorders, which will help them better assist and treat males. Future research must expand studies by including large-scale data collection as well as in-depth interviews to determine what does and does not help males. Large-scale data collection would provide researchers with numbers on how many males suffer and what help is available. Whereas in-depth research will provide researchers with information on how to tailor treatment programs to these males’ needs as well as finding out the key differences between these males and females in regards to treatment.