Date of Award

Spring 4-8-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling & Psychology

First Advisor

Peiwei Li, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sarah Hamil, Ph.D., LCSW, RPT-S, ATR-BC

Third Advisor

Kristin N. Javaras, D.PHIL., Ph.D.


Adolescence is known as being a critical period of development, especially for adolescent girls. During this developmental stage, young girls may fall susceptible to concerns about body-image, weight, shape, and appearance, and are deeply influenced by the perceptions of others, particularly their peers. Eating disorders constitute a significant public health concern, with adolescent females being particularly vulnerable. Recovery from eating disorders remains a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, characterized by varied definitions within the literature (Bardone-Cone et al., 2010). Despite the rampant nature of eating disorders among this age group, there is limited literature denoting the recovery experiences of female adolescents with much of the literature focusing on adult lived experiences. Drawing upon critical feminist and sociocultural theories, this qualitative arts-informed phenomenological study sought to understand the gap in the literature pertaining to how female adolescents in recovery perceived and defined recovery from an eating disorder following their participation in treatment.

There were eight adolescent participants that shared their recovery experiences through semi-structured interviews, artmaking, and multimodal integration to depict what recovery meant from an adolescent standpoint. Findings revealed that recovery is multifaceted, encompassing physical, psychological, social, and behavioral dimensions, along with improved quality of life and shifts in self-perception. Participants underscored the importance of individualized treatment, resilience, and ongoing support, challenging the notion of recovery as a finite endpoint. Instead, they advocated for a perspective of continuous growth and healing. This study highlighted the nuanced nature of eating disorder recovery from the perspective of adolescent females, emphasizing the need for holistic and personalized approaches to treatment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



Number of Pages