Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Consent or Caring? Issues of Autonomy and Paternalism in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa

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posted on 2021-11-14, 03:56 authored by Young, Bridget

Denial is a characteristic feature of anorexia nervosa (AN) that may lead to treatment refusal. If an individual is refusing treatment autonomously, it should be accepted, while a lack of autonomy indicates paternalistic intervention may be justified. AN has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, so accepting refusal means accepting the risk of death, so should only be done with the certainty that it is autonomous. The current research is theoretical, reviewing the literature on ethical issues relating to autonomy and paternalism in AN in order to evaluate the evidence base for these assumptions. The aim is to develop a procedural model for establishing autonomy in those with AN. The result is the anorexia nervosa autonomous decision-making model (ANDMM), which provides guidance for responding to autonomous and non-autonomous treatment refusal.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and the Cognitive sciences

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Ward, Tony