Catherine McCombie

Thesis title:

Capturing and understanding the complexities of the treatment and recovery processes in adults with severe anorexia nervosa using a novel qualitative smartphone diary app


Anorexia nervosa is a severe condition with high psychiatric comorbidity rates, high mortality rates, and, in those who do recover, high relapse rates. Lack of long-term effective treatment suggests there is a need to clearly understand the underlying processes and maintaining factors in anorexia nervosa. My study aims to improve understanding of the experience of anorexia nervosa and treatment, and underlying processes that might affect response to therapy. The experiences of adults of going through treatment for severe anorexia nervosa will be sought using audio and text diaries, collected using a diary app. Using qualitative analysis methods and natural language processing methods, I will explore what it is like to actually go through treatment for anorexia nervosa, how people respond to and interpret treatment, and to ultimately identify how thoughts and feelings change over time through treatment, and what underlying processes are acting in severe anorexia nervosa.

First supervisor:

Vanessa Lawrence


1 – Health Practices, Innovation & Implementation