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European Eating Disorders Review



This qualitative study explores the ways in which the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic and associated lockdown measures have affected the lives of adult patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and their carers.


Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with patients with AN (n = 21) and carers (n = 28) from the start of UK Government imposed lockdown. Data related directly to the impact of lockdown and COVID‐19 were analysed using thematic analysis.


Four broad themes were identified for patients and carers separately. Patients experienced: 1. reduced access to eating disorder (ED) services; 2. disruption to routine and activities in the community; 3. heightened psychological distress and ED symptoms; 4. increased attempts at self‐management in recovery. Carer themes included: 1. concern over provision of professional support for patients; 2. increased practical demands placed on carers in lockdown; 3. managing new challenges around patient wellbeing; 4. new opportunities.


Reduced access to ED services, loss of routine and heightened anxieties and ED symptoms resulting from COVID‐19 and lockdown measures presented challenges for patients and carers. Increased remote support by ED services enabled the continuation of treatment and self‐management resources and strategies promoted self‐efficacy in both groups.


This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit Wiley's Website.

© 2020 The Authors. European Eating Disorders Review published by Eating Disorders Association and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

"Exploring the Ways in Which COVID‐19 and Lockdown Has Affected the Lives of Adult Patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Their Carers" appears in European Eating Disorders Review's Virtual Issue: Eating Disorders during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For more information on this virtual issue, visit Wiley's Website.