The Social Construction of a Concept- Orthorexia Nervosa: Morality Narratives and Psycho-politics

Fixsen, Alison, Cheshire, A. and Berry, M. 2020. The Social Construction of a Concept- Orthorexia Nervosa: Morality Narratives and Psycho-politics. Qualitative Health Research. 30 (7), pp. 1101-1113. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732320911364

TitleThe Social Construction of a Concept- Orthorexia Nervosa: Morality Narratives and Psycho-politics
TypeJournal article
AuthorsFixsen, Alison, Cheshire, A. and Berry, M.
Abstract

Our article explores orthorexia nervosa (ON) – an extreme fixation with healthy eating- from a social construction perspective. Interviews with people self-identified as “obsessed” with healthy eating or having ON (“Identifiers”) and non-medical professionals working with ON (“Professionals”) were comparatively analyzed, along with orthorexia threads from an eating disorder website (“Posters”). Participants made sense of and rationalized their attitudes and feelings concerning healthy eating and aligned themselves according to their interests. Identifiers and Posters applauded “healthy eating” and regarded consumption of “impure” foods as leading to ill-health. Some framed their dietary discipline within an ethically motivated lifestyle, others were preoccupied with appearance or weight management. Professionals expressed concern for, and disapproval of, extreme views and behaviors in clients and parental and social influences supporting them. Debates surrounding orthorexic practices are tangled; some individuals need help, yet dangers lie in over medicalising or “troubling” what may be a preferred lifestyle.

KeywordsEating disorders
social constructionism
orthorexia nervosa
health and wellbeing
internet support
JournalQualitative Health Research
Journal citation30 (7), pp. 1101-1113
ISSN1049-7323
Year2020
PublisherElsevier
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732320911364
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732320911364
Publication dates
Published18 May 2020

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