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The meaning of guilt and shame: a qualitative study of mothers who suffer from eating difficulties
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stavanger.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
Centre for Women's, Family and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Vestfold University College, Tønsberg, Norway.
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, ISSN 1445-8330, E-ISSN 1447-0349, Vol. 19, no 4, 231-239 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to illuminate and interpret guilt and shame expressed by mothers with eating difficulties (ED). The research question was: What is the meaning of guilt and shame experienced by mothers with ED? Experiences of guilt and shame in mothers with ED may be strong, yet concealed, and should be addressed when promoting women's mental health. The study design was explorative, and in-depth interviews were conducted with eight mothers suffering from ED. The data were analysed by means of qualitative content analysis and interpreted according to a hermeneutic approach. The main theme 'Struggling in silence with guilt and shame as a mother living with ED and trying to keep it secret' was interpreted on two levels: emotional, 'Feeling worried about failure and wanting to be successful', and cognitive, 'Having condemning thoughts about one's own sense of responsibility'. In addition, each theme contained two subthemes. Feelings and awareness of guilt and shame are strong; they vary between individuals and are intensified in mothers who suffer from ED. It is important for mental health nurses to help mothers with ED articulate such feelings in order to promote health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 19, no 4, 231-239 p.
Keyword [en]
Eating difficulties, guilt, hermeneutic, mental health nurses, mothers, shame
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-37422DOI: 10.1111/j.1447-0349.2010.00672.xPubMedID: 20618523OAI: diva2:360342
Available from: 2010-11-03 Created: 2010-11-03 Last updated: 2010-12-20Bibliographically approved

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