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Social networks and social support in the context of eating disorders

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Carolina Leonidas
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Manoel Antonio dos Santos; Maria Aparecida Crepaldi; Rosane Pilot Pessa Ribeiro
Advisor: Manoel Antonio dos Santos

Eating disorders (ED) have been gaining increasing visibility in recent years, arousing great interest from the scientific community and the general public. These disorders are characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior. The main subtypes of ED are bulimia nervosa (BN) and anorexia nervosa (AN). BN is set by repeated episodes of binge eating that evoke feelings of loss of control and, in most cases, are followed by purging and not purging rituals, such as excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting and abuse of laxatives, diuretics and appetite suppressants. AN, on the other hand, can be characterized by an individual´s refusal to maintain body weight at the minimum appropriate range, an intense fear of gaining weight and a significant disturbance in body image. Based on the hypothesis that the relationships that these patients establish throughout their lives tend to be very unstable and troubled, and that the weakness of bonding may be related to the occurrence of the disorder, this study aimed to investigate how the social networks of women with ED are set, as well as the perceived social support and its possible implications for the evolution of the psychopathology. This is an exploratory and descriptive study that uses a qualitative approach. The sample was composed of 12 young and adult women with ED, linked to the Group of Assistance on Eating Disorders (GRATA), from the Clinics Hospital of Ribeirão Preto´s Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo (HC-FMRP -USP). The instruments used for data collection were semi-structured interview, Genogram, Networks´ Map and Brazilian Economic Classification Criterion/2010, which were individually applied in a private room at the hospital. The interviews were audio-recorded and later transcribed in full. The collected material was subjected to content analysis in thematic modality. The data were interpreted with the support of the theoretical framework of social network, supplemented by reference to social support. Results indicated that participants\' social networks were extensive, but poorly with members distributed among the quadrants of the Networks´ Map, with concentration in the Family quadrant. Friends, work/university colleagues and community networks´ included a total of members significantly less than the family network. Participants´ social life was marked by isolation, which resulted in a scarcity of friendship networks, favoring the predominance of family network and compromising the potential for support and, consequently, the physical and psychological well-being, and worsening the psychopathology. The family was characterized as the main source of social support, despite the existence of several conflicts. It is believed that the results of this study may contribute to the professional´s understanding on how the course of patient´s disorder can be influenced by the relationships that they establish with the people in their life context, so as to contribute to improve the treatment and prevention strategies. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 10/01257-7 - Social networks and social support in the context of eating disorders
Grantee:Carolina Leonidas
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master