Despina Learmonth

Abstracts

2 Exploring Salient Shifts and Transdiagnostic Factors in Eating Disordered Women

Authors: Despina Learmonth, Francesca Favero

Abstract:

Carbohydrate addiction is said to be the sustained dependence on hyperpalatable foods rich in carbohydrates and sugar. This addiction manifests in increased consumption of carbohydrates through binging: a behaviour typically associated with eating disorders. There is a lack of consensus amongst relevant experts as to whether carbohydrates are physiologically or psychologically addictive. With an increased focus on carbohydrate addiction, an outpatient treatment programme, HELP, has been established in Cape Town, South Africa, to specifically address this issue. This research aimed to explore, pre-and post-intervention, the possible presence of, and subsequent shifts in, the maintaining mechanisms identified in the transdiagnostic model for eating disorders. However, the potential for the emergence of other perpetuating factors was not discounted and the nature of the analysis allowed for this possibility. Eight women between the ages of twenty-two and fifty, who had completed the outpatient treatment programme in the last six months, were interviewed. They were asked to speak retrospectively about their personal difficulties, eating and food, and their experience of the treatment. Thematic analysis was employed to identify themes arising from the data. Five themes congruent with the transdiagnostic model’s factors emerged: over-evaluation of weight and shape, core low self-esteem, interpersonal difficulties, clinical perfectionism and mood intolerance. A variety of sub-themes, elaborating upon the various ways in which the disordered eating was maintained, also emerged from the data. Shifts in these maintaining mechanisms were identified. Although not necessarily indicative of recovery, the results suggest that the outpatient HELP programme had a positive overall influence on the participants; and that the transdiagnostic model may be useful in understanding and guiding the treatment of clients who engage in this type of treatment programme.

Keywords: Eating Disorders, Binge Eating Disorder, carbohydrate addiction, transdiagnostic model, maintaining mechanisms, thematic analysis, outpatient treatment

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1 Male Sex Workers’ Constructions of Selling Sex in South Africa

Authors: Tara Panday, Despina Learmonth

Abstract:

Sex work is often constructed as being an interaction between male clients and female sex workers. As a result, street-based male sex workers are continuously overlooked in the South African literature. This qualitative study explored male sex workers’ subjective experiences and constructions of their male clients’ identities and the client-sex worker relationship. This research was conducted from a social-constructionist perspective, which allowed for a deeper understanding of the reasons and context driving the choices and actions of male sex workers. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 10 South African men working as sex workers in Cape Town. Data was analysed through thematic analysis. The findings of the study construct the client-sex worker relationship in terms of a professional relationship, constrained choice, sexual identity and need, as well as companionship for pay, potentially highlighting underlying reasons for supply and demand. The data which emerged around the client-sex worker relationship and the clients’ identities also served to illuminate the power-dynamics in the client-sex worker relationship. This data increases insight into the exploitation and disempowerment experienced by male sex workers through verbal abuse, physical and sexual violence, and unfairly enforced laws and regulations. The findings of this study suggest that, in the context of South Africa, male sex workers' experiences of the client-sex worker relationship cannot be completely understood without considering the intersectionality of the triple stigmatisation of: the criminality of sex work, race, and the lack of economic power, which systematically maintains marginalization. Motivating for the Law Reform Commission to continue to review all emerging research may assist with guiding related policy and thereby, the provision of equal human rights and adequate health and social interventions for all sex workers in South Africa.

Keywords: Human Rights, prostitution, Sex Work, Power Relations

Procedia PDF Downloads 338