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Eating behaviours and the inner voice

Smith, Rachel (2011) Eating behaviours and the inner voice. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)


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This study aimed to explore the extent to which an inner voice is present in a non-clinical population regarding eating and food behaviours. Whilst previous research has largely centred on clinical populations, subsequently pathologizing the inner voice, research investigating its prevalence in non-clinical populations is lacking. Thus, this research aimed to examine this occurrence and establish the qualities and functions of the inner voice. Utilising a mixed methods approach, surveys assessed participants’ acceptance of an inner voice entity and qualitative, semi-structured observations of food shopping established the qualities and functions of the inner voice in action. Questionnaire data was subjected to statistical analysis and thematic analysis of observations found themes of; consultant, being healthy and self control as consistent with the inner voice. The findings suggest that females identify more greatly with an inner food voice whilst males were found to identify more so with resistance to the voice. It is concluded that although an inner voice is predominantly associated with clinical populations, it is also a ‘normal’ entity for non-clinical populations and warrants further explorative research in order to destigmatize the link between the inner voice and mental illness.

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