Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Background: Current literature on adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) show that social participation is a key factor of community reintegration and long-term recovery (Mekori et al., 2017; Preyde et al., 2017); however, there is little known about the impact of social eating for adolescents with AN.

Purpose: The purpose of this instrumental case study is to more fully understand the meaning of social eating during lunch for adolescents with AN and begin to illustrate social eating’s impact on treatment, community re-integration, and long-term remission.

Methods: A qualitative case-study methodology was developed to gain perceptions of social eating from adolescents with AN. Data collection included semi-structured interviews from adolescents with AN admitted into an inpatient ED program. Data analysis consisted of coding interview transcripts and organizing recurrent beliefs among participants into patterns.

Results. Three patterns emerged from the three participants’ interviews: Pressure Cooker, Bread Maker, and Hand Mixer. Each pattern illustrated limitations or barriers perceived by participants when taking part in social eating. Factors such as peer social pressures, environmental shortcomings, and extrinsic expectations negatively influenced participants’ occupational engagement and performance.

Conclusions: Study results provided a better understanding to perceptions of social eating during lunch for adolescents with AN and further insight to the limitations of current AN treatment that may be impairing poor community re-integration and increasing likelihood of recurrent hospital admissions.

Faculty Mentor

Christine Privott Ph.D, OTR/L

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Geela Spira Ph.D, OTR/L

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy



First, I would like to thank my husband, Chris, my family, friends, and co-workers for their unconditional love and support throughout my doctoral journey. I could have not crossed the finish line without their generosity, selflessness, and belief in me.

Second, I would like to thank the staff at the Lindner Center of HOPE, especially Drew Lonneman OTR/L, the leadership team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, and study participants for their flexibility, willingness to accommodate my capstone vision, and confidence in my innovative ideas.

Lastly, thank you to the occupational therapy doctorate faculty and students at Eastern Kentucky University, especially my committee members, Dr. Christine Privott and Dr. Geela Spira for their knowledge, advocacy, and encouragement throughout the program.

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)