This paper reports on the results of a study into the self-reported coping strategies employed by a small sample (n=12) of individuals diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa purging sub-type, severe and enduring eating disorder (Seed-BN), referred to an out-patient clinic for psychotherapy. Data collection focused on the vomiting activities of participants through analysis of their self-management from diary extracts, which recorded vomiting patterns. Participants all experienced significant mental health issues, had complex histories of BN over a prolonged period, difficulties maintaining relationships, and many had an additional history of substance misuse including dependence on prescription drugs. The study findings indicated two different self-management strategies, anxiety-containment and compulsion-maintenance. There was a clear association between anxiety and controlled weekly vomiting patterns compared with compulsion and daily vomiting patterns. The implications for nursing practice relate to the potential for assessment of differences in vomiting patterns to indicate self-management status and subsequent interventions focusing on either anxiety or compulsive patterns.
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