Male Eating Disorders Research
Dr Russell Delderfield
Welcome to this site about qualitative research in male disordered eating.
Here you can:
- learn about my research
- see my current work in progress*
- view synposes of past projects.
*All of my research is reviewed by an expert panel at the University to ensure ethicality.
- takes a novel approach to the study of male eating disorders – an area that is often dominated by clinical discourses
- addresses the lack of dedicated attention to personal and socio-cultural aspects
- spotlights personal accounts written by a group of men who have experiences of disordered eating
- presents critical interpretations that aim to situate these experiences in the social and cultural context in which these disorders occur
- is underpinned by an eclectic scholarly engagement with social psychology and sociology literature around masculinities, embodiment and fatness, belonging, punishment, stigma, and control; leading to understandings about relationships with food, body and self
- is undertaken with a reflexive element, as the personal intersects with the professional.
Humane and revealing, this is a truly groundbreaking work.
Current responsibilities and roles
Researcher Development (Researcher Concordat and Vitae’s UK Researcher Development Framework implementation)
Male Eating Disorders Research
Delderfield, R. (2021) Boys and Men living with eating difficulties, Chapter 6 in Downs, J, Hopfenbeck, M., Lewis, H., Parker, I. and Schnackenberg, N. The Practical Handbook of Eating Difficulties: a comprehensive guide from personal and professional perspectives. Pavilion Books, pp. 43-50.
Riches-Suman, K & Delderfield, R. (2021) Mirror mirror on the wall: is the current doctoral researcher well-being crisis being propagated by supervisors’ past experiences? Researcher Education and Development Scholarship Conference 2020, Conference Proceedings Paper.
Delderfield, R. (2021) ‘By the time I am eating, I am crying. Crying and eating’: An autoethnography of male binge-eating disorder. Clin Psych Forum. 343 (July).
Stoyel, H., Delderfield, R., Shanmuganathan, V., Stoyel, A. & Serpell, L. (2021) A qualitative exploration of sport and social pressures on elite athletes in relation to disordered eating. Front. Psychol. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.633490.
Delderfield, R., Suman-Riches, K., Ndoma-Egba, M. and Boyne, J. (2020) ‘A learning development-faculty collaborative exploration of postgraduate research student mental health in a UK University‘ Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. 18 (October), pp.1-30.
Delderfield, R. (2019) Eating Disorders in Men, in Crilly, L. Hope with Eating Disorders, 2nd Ed, Chapter 8, pp. 193-209.
Delderfield, R. (2018) Male Eating Disorders: Experiences of Food, Body and Self. Palgrave MacMillan.
Delderfield, R. (2018) ‘When the researcher is a ‘wounded storyteller’: exploring emotional labour and personal impact in research’ Self & Society: An International Journal for Humanistic Psychology, 46(2), pp.34-39.
Bolton, G. with Delderfield, R. (2018) Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development, 5th Edition. SAGE Publications.
Delderfield, R. and McHattie, H. (2018) ‘Person-centred dynamics in maths skills development: examining a case of good practice.‘ Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. 13 (April), pp.1-10, ISSN: 1759-667X.
Delderfield, R. (2016) Freedom and chains: the duality of the university experience for young men with eating disorders. University and College Counselling Journal. Issue: May 2016
Delderfield, R. (2013) Coming out of the food cupboard: supporting young men with eating disorders. The Association for University & College Counselling Journal. Issue: March 2013.
Research Projects, Expertise and Supervision
- Male eating disorders
- Researcher development, including person-centred practice in doctoral education
- Reflective Practice: its nature, impact and value
- Qualitative methodologies & research philosophy with partic. focus on hermeneutics for qualitative psychology.
My doctoral study was entitled Exploring male disordered eating: a hermeneutic study of men’s relationships with food, body, and self. My work takes a qualitative approach, something that features rarely in the study of males, which is psychiatric-discourse dominated. I use stories to explore issues of identity, selfhood, gender, masculinities and eating disorder.
|Pluralistic Qualitative Analysis of Men’s Eating Disorder Experiences.||This ambitious new research uses publicly available texts to experiment with using more than one qualitative analytical framework applied to the same set of data. I am aiming to explore whether using a pluralistic design can yield a more holistic and fulsome account of what men endure. For further information on the research design, please see the N-PQR blog (opens in new window).||In write-up|
|Male Eating Disorders: An Autoethnography.||This project is being carried as an extension of work that began as part of my doctoral study. It applies autoethnographic methodology to my own experience of eating disorder. This means, in the feminist tradition, I am looking at using my own lived selfhood as the raw data for analysis.||Completed|
|LEARNING to Live and Work Together: Improving the Quality of Life for Vulnerable Migrant Students through Integrated Digital Technology Enhanced Support.|
Erasmus+ funding: 305k euros
This project aims to co- design and co-produce digital technology resources; a digital multi-media platform web-hub and a bespoke mobile application, alongside an integrated digital literacy and language toolkit for vulnerable migrant students. Digital literacy and language skills are becoming increasingly important in the modern world. However, digital technology innovation remains underexploited despite it’s potential in transforming vulnerabilities for migrant students.
|Sport and social pressures, disordered eating and elite athletes.||Collaboration with Dr Hannah Stoyel, UCL, UK.||Completed|
|Exploring male disordered eating: a hermeneutic study of men’s relationships with food, body and self.||This PhD thesis passed without corrections in December 2016. The research monograph of my thesis is now published by Palgrave.||Completed|
|Research supervisors’ experiences of their own doctoral supervision.|
This project, with Dr Kirsten Riches-Suman, explores the legacy of researchers’ experiences of being supervised on their well-being and approach to supervising their own doctoral researchers, including other external influences on their ‘style’ of supervision.
It is in 2 phases.
Phase 1 in progress 2021-22.
Current PhD supervision
- Gemma Jackson (with Dr Peter Branney)
- Ruth Vaqari (with Dr Paul Sullivan)
Abridged Professional History
- Lecturer in clinical education at KCL
- Lecturer in education practice for Initial Teacher Training
- Lecturer in reflective practice and professional development
- Researcher Development, including PGR
- Language resource centre manager for France Télécom
- Primary school teacher & senior management
- Head of International English Language Education Centre
- Trustee of a national charity.
- BA Hons (Interpreting and Translation, Dual Language)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Compulsory)
- Qualified Teacher Status
- Postgraduate Diploma (Research Methods)
Can body image problems affect our mental health?
I am the scientific advisor for the film collaboration between BBC Tomorrow’s World and the Wellcome Trust. This film explores what it is like to live with body dysmorphia and how it can impact physical and mental health.
Awareness Raising Video for GPs
I lent my research expertise to this animation launched for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2020 (#EDAW2020). The video was produced with funding from AHRC, by University of Nottingham & King’s College London, AND created by WovenInk. The end result is good and I’m proud to have been asked to contribute to such a worthy project.
Before the BBC’s Freddie Flintoff documentary, there was Millstone. This video is a documentary about male eating disorders by Florence Pellicani.
My research projects and this website are not designed or intended to be:
- a substitute for accessing professional support
- a substitute for peer support from other men with similar experiences of disordered eating.
Although the projects have been through stringent approval procedures in the University to try to minimise any difficult effects that someone might experience if they participate and to ensure ethical practice, it might be uncomfortable or even painful to write your story. Should you feel that you need support I’ve listed some of the resources I’ve come across as a starting point to accessing any help you decide you might need.
1. Eating Disorders Support:
MaleVoicED is pioneering and provides information and practical support for men and boys with eating disorders.
SYEDA or South Yorkshire Eating Disorders Association is an independent charity providing non-judgemental support to people affected by eating disorders.
Beat is a source of information for anyone (including men, their families or friends) who needs support around eating disorders. They also have support by Twitter:
Overeaters Anonymous uses a twelve-step method to educate and support people in overcoming food addiction:
- 07000 784 985
2. Mental Health Support:
Mind covers a broad variety of mental health campaigns and resources and gives advice for emergency support should you or someone you know need it:
- 0845 766 0163
The Samaritans are well known for providing professional support when someone needs it most. They can also guide you to other useful services:
- 08457 909090
3. Formal Access to Support Services:
If you are not registered then check out NHS Choices to find a practice who is taking patients;
If you’d like to know more about talking treatments or want to find a therapist then you can get information from the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy;
- 020 7014 9955
The Counselling and Psychotherapy Directory is a useful source of information about what counselling is and how it can help. It also allows you to find a counsellor or therapist by location.
4. Support for University of Bradford/Bradford College students and staff
Don’t forget, if you are local to the University or College you can access support from the Counselling Service.
Disordered eating, for the purposes of my research, vary from an official medical diagnosis by a doctor to cases where a man privately identifies with destructive or damaging behaviours around food and his own body.
I do not have a fixed idea on what form these may take, nor the severity of the habits or behaviour but there are some ideas below.
The following are not exhaustive, they simply provide some examples of experiences I’m interested in studying:
- Compulsive feelings or behaviours around certain foods;
- habitual controlling behaviours with food, such as constant weighing and measuring of foodstuffs to be consumed;
- fasting or self-imposed starvation;
- vomiting to get rid of unwanted food;
- using laxatives to rid the body of excess food;
- compulsive or excessive exercise;
- routine over- or under-eating over sustained periods;
- unable to stop striving for increased muscularity.