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Healthcare providers’ engagement with eating disorder recovery narratives: opening to complexity and diversity
  1. Andrea LaMarre,
  2. Carla Rice
  1. Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrea LaMarre, School of Psychology, Massey University - Albany Campus, 0632 Auckland, New Zealand; a.lamarre{at}


Interdisciplinary healthcare providers (HCPs) receive only minimal training in identifying, referring for and treating eating disorders and may feel ill-prepared to manage them. There is a need for brief interventions that prepare HCPs for work with people with eating disorders, particularly when they do not fit stereotypes about who might experience an eating disorder. One method for enacting brief interventions that make change in this realm is using digital stories (short videos) to generate awareness and knowledge. In this article, we discuss the results of a pilot study exploring the impact of viewing digital stories created by people in eating disorder recovery and their supporters on an interdisciplinary group of HCPs. We showed five stories to 22 HCPs who filled out qualitative prequestionnaires and postquestionnaires about their experiences of viewing the films and how they conceptualised recovery. Providers found the stories evocative; the stories appear to have complexified their perspectives on recovery. HCPs desired more diverse, detailed and lengthy stories, indicating that pursuing digital storytelling for HCP education and awareness may hold promise. Through centring the voices of people with eating disorders and in recovery, digital stories may also provide new ways of talking about recovery that open up possibilities for embracing difference.

  • health care education
  • mental health care
  • arts in health/arts and health
  • film

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  • Presented at Parts of this manuscript were from the first author’s dissertation, which is online via institutional repository (The Atrium, University of Guelph). A presentation based on the findings was given at the International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED) in 2017.

  • Contributors AL designed the study with guidance from CR, who was her PhD advisor. The methods and process for digital story-telling creation were developed under the umbrella of the Re·Vision Centre for Art and Social Justice. AL worked with participants to create stories, developed the screening materials and screened the stories. She transcribed the responses and conducted the primary analysis. CR added to the analysis, and the two authors discussed the thematic structure and overall findings. AL wrote the first draft of the manuscript, and CR provided substantive revisions. Both authors worked on paper revisions following review.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (grant number: Vanier Scholar Doctoral Award 2014-2017) and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Ontario Women's Health Scholar Award 2017-2018). AL's dissertation research was generously funded by the Vanier Canada Doctoral Scholarship (CIHR) and subsequently by the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care through the Ontario Women’s Health. The views expressed in the material are ours and do not necessarily reflect those of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement statement In this study, people with lived experience of or supporters of people with eating disorders created their stories collaboratively with the first author. In workshops with these story-tellers, we discussed possible audiences for their videos, including HCPs. Consent forms offered options for being contacted prior to screenings; some participants elected to be contacted, whereas others chose to allow the screening of their videos without being contacted first. We consider the stories screened to be ‘owned by’ participants, who determine their use in particular venues for educational, informational and research purposes.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study received ethics clearance through the University of Guelph ethics board (REB#16-12-277).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are not publicly available as this was not a part of the consent process. Deidentified data may be available upon reasonable request to the authors.

  • Author note This work was carried out while Andrea LaMarre was affiliated with the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph.

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