Agency, ambivalence and authenticity: The many ways in which anorexia nervosa can affect autonomy

About this resource

On the basis of detailed interviews of females aged between fifteen and twenty-six years with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa we argue that the autonomy of people with this condition may be severely compromised in four ways, particularly in relation to eating and weight. First there are problems with agency. Second, affective components, particularly anxiety, can dominate beliefs such that the grounds for making a decision may differ from the reasons given in justification. Third, the interactions between the affective components and the objective evidence lead to substantial inner conflicts with resulting lack of stability in preferences and beliefs. Fourth, this lack of stability leads to concerns around identity and authenticity. We argue that some of the ways in which autonomy is compromised reduce competence to decide on treatment. We suggest that these results may be relevant to other mental disorders and have clinical and policy implications.

Author
JournalInternational Journal of Law in Context
Volume9(1):20-36
Year2013

See also

Mobile Self-Help Interventions as Augmentation Therapy for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa.

Background: It has been suggested that patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) who are resistant to first-line treatment would benefit from second-level interventions targeting specific features, an adaptive form of intervention.

Read more

Relationship between desired weight constructs and eating disorder severity following treatment for anorexia nervosa

Background Desired weight is an indicator of illness severity in youth with anorexia nervosa (AN), but its impact on eating disorder symptoms over time and in adults is unknown.

Read more

Lifetime anorexia nervosa in young men in the community: Five cases and their co-twins

OBJECTIVE: To describe patterns, comorbidity, and outcomes from a case series of anorexia nervosa (AN) among young men from the general population and their co-twins.

Read more

Development of emotion acceptance behavior therapy for anorexia nervosa: A case series

This case series describes the development of a novel psychotherapeutic intervention for older adolescents and adults with anorexia nervosa (AN).

Read more

Help us improve!

Give us feedback!

We will continue throughout 2020 to update and improve the NEDC website and welcome any feedback you may have on the site.

Provide feedback