Participatory action research for women with anorexia nervosa
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Participatory action research for women with anorexia nervosa

Daniel Nicholls Senior lecturer, School of nursing and midwifery, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia
Sarah Fogarty Researcher, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia
Phillipa Hay Professor and foundation chair of mental health, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia
Lucie Michelle Ramjan Senior lecturer, School of nursing and midwifery, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia

Aim To discuss the application of the principles of participatory action research (PAR) in a project that developed and evaluated a mentor-mentee support programme for women with anorexia nervosa.

Background A programme was developed and implemented in which mentors and mentees participated in workshops, social activities and focus groups that sought to support and develop resilience for those experiencing anorexia nervosa.

Discussion PAR principles were mirrored in the programme, paying respect to the views and needs of each participant, an open trajectory to possible conclusions and a continuous feedback cycle. Mentees had a sense of empowerment, ownership of the programme and hope that recovery was possible. It allowed their voices to be heard and provided them with belief they could begin new relationships and friendships.

Conclusion The principles of PAR suited a project aimed at developing self-determination and resilience in women with anorexia nervosa.

Implications for research/practice PAR would be readily transferable to a number of mental health settings where empowerment is of paramount concern.

Nurse Researcher. 23, 5, 26-30. doi: 10.7748/nr.23.5.26.s6

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 03 July 2015

Accepted: 07 October 2015

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