Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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What's in a Name? The Social Meanings of Eating Disorder Diagnoses: An Autoethnography

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posted on 2023-08-13, 04:57 authored by Whiskin, Esme

This autoethnography examines my experience of diagnostic crossover during an eating disorder to explore the meanings I made of different diagnoses. Drawing on memory data, self-observation data, and medical records, I constructed three fictional stories centred on three main themes: diagnosis, female friendships, and physical observations. These stories represent the findings of my study. I then connect the data and stories with other eating disorder research and feminist theory to examine how my own experience of diagnoses intertwines with social constructions of femininity as well as social and medical portrayals of eating disorders. This autoethnographic account sheds light on the potential negative implications of the current diagnostic system and encourages the use of patient knowledge when constructing diagnostic categories.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-ND 4.0

Degree Discipline

Health Psychology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Health Psychology

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

200101 Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Health


Jutel, Annemarie