Looking for eating disorder support in your area? Visit HelpFinder

Black women’s accounts of living with an eating disorder: Experiences of recovery

This study aims to interview 15 women from the Black community, who have an eating disorder. The interviews will focus on your experiences of accessing treatment and recovering from an eating disorder. You will also be invited to supplement 6 photographs that represent your experiences.

Dr Katie Bell Lecturer in Psychology, De Montfort University

What is the purpose of the research?

The research is being conducted by a group of psychology researchers at De Montfort University, Leicester. The project is being led by Dr Katie Bell, whose expertise focuses on the lived experiences of having an eating disorder.

This study aims to interview women within the Black community who have experience of living with an eating disorder. This research aims to yield new and deeper insights into the experiences of accessing treatment and recovering from an eating disorder to add to the limited academic literature in this area.

This study also includes an approach called Photovoice. PhotoVoice is a research method whereby people document their personal experiences through the use of photography. The participant and the researcher discuss the photographed images captured by the participant in terms of their meaning, what they represent and associated feelings. People who take part in the interview will also be offered an opportunity to supplement their data with up to 6 self-authored photographs that represent their experiences of living with an eating disorder. Specific instructions about what constitutes acceptable photographs will be provided for ethical and legal reasons. If you would prefer not to contribute to this component you can still take part in the interview.

Who can take part?

Women from the Black community, who are over the age of 18 and who have either a diagnosis or self-diagnosis of an eating disorder. Within this study, we hope to capture the experiences of people who suffer from a range of eating disorders. However, the focus of this study is on treatment and recovery so to take part you must have experiences of this. People who are markedly depressed or who have suicidal thoughts are not able to take part in the study.

What does the study involve?

We are inviting you to take part in an interview lasting about sixty minutes in which Katie will ask you some questions about your experience of receiving treatment and recovering from an eating disorder. Interviews will take place online, via Skype, Microsoft teams or over telephone. The interviews will be audiotaped to produce a word-for-word transcript.

The interview may arouse some emotions. Katie will aim to ask questions sensitively and compassionately and you have the right to decline to discuss any issue that you are asked about. However, if you do find participating in the interview a little upsetting at any point you might like to take a break, or if you prefer, you can decide to end your participation and withdraw from the study at that point. Equally, as long as time permits, we can reschedule the interview if you are willing to do so. You will be provided with helpline numbers for Beat and other related services in the Post-Study information document that you will be given at the close of the interview.

You will also be asked to take photographs of anything which you feel identifies, represents, explains and/or is meaningful to you regarding your experiences of living with an eating disorder. You will then talk over some of these photographs with the researcher as part of our interview. Please remember that taking part in the aspect of the study is entirely optional. If you prefer just to be interviewed that is fine. We are grateful for your involvement regardless of how you chose to participate. We will always ensure that you have at least 48 hours minimum to decide if you would like to take part in the photo-voice component.

If after reflection you are happy to take part in the photo-voice component we would ask you to take at least six photographs in the weeks before the interview. We will provide you with a disposable camera if you like or it is fine to use your camera or smartphone, whichever you prefer.

Finally, for your time and involvement, you will be given a £15 LovetoShop voucher. If you are interested in taking part in the study, please email Katie (

How can someone take part?

To learn more about the study or to take part please get in touch with Katie. Her contact details are listed below.

Dr Katie Bell

De Montfort University

0.06 Hawthorn House

The Gateway


LE1 9BH 0116 201 3881