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13-09-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2017

Nurses’ Establishment of Health Promoting Relationships: A Descriptive Synthesis of Anorexia Nervosa Research

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2017
Martin Salzmann-Erikson, Jeanette Dahlén
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10826-016-0534-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Qualitative values that address personal and interpersonal dimensions are often overlooked in research that examines mental well-being among young patients with anorexia nervosa. The aim of this review was to identify and describe factors that promote and impede the relationships between nurses and the children, adolescents and young adults who are diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and also to explore and describe how those relationships benefit the patients’ processes toward increased health and well-being. A descriptive literature synthesis was conducted following the four steps as described by Evans. The three databases CINAHL, PsycINFO and PubMed were used to search for qualitative articles. Fourteen articles met the criteria for inclusion and were analysed. Key findings were identified, and categories and themes were formulated and compared across the studies. Four themes are presented in the results: (1) The essentials in a relationship; (2) The person at the centre; (3) The nurses’ attitudes; and (4) Knowledge. In addition to the contribution to the knowledge of how anorexia is manifested, our findings demonstrate the necessity for nurses to be person-centred in their relationships with patients and to have attitudes characterised by presence, genuine commitment and motivation. Nurses are more likely to convey a sense of trust and safety when they communicate with openness and honesty. Our review suggests that the motivation for patients to adhere to treatment is likely to increase when nurses approach patients with these characteristics and attitudes. We argue that the findings are relevant for nurses in their everyday practices.

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