Date of Award

Winter 1-15-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Shaun McNiff

Second Advisor

Michaela Kirby

Third Advisor

Natalie Carlton


This research explores the experience of women who are vegan, and have disturbed eating behaviors (DEB) and body image distress (BID). Four participants completed a series of three art-making sessions. Participants were invited to visually explore their experience as a vegan woman with DEB/BID. They made a mixed media collage with an emphasis on layering in each session. They engaged in discussion about their process, and the final art piece’s meaning. Between sessions, researcher response art pieces were created for each participant piece, with accompanying journal reflections to engage with the ideas they explored. All participant sessions were video and audio-recorded. Edited individual review videos were created for each participant. Participants attended a fourth session, during which they discussed the research process, their art, corresponding response art, and the video of their sessions. A final research summary video was created, and a final summary art piece was created. Qualitative analysis revealed Six Essential Ideas that characterized the women’s experience: re-claiming space, defining female, navigating food choices, vegan in context, identification and relationships with other animals and the environment, and disability as a vegan woman. A functional model of these six ideas, in relation to femaleness, veganism, and DEB/BID is presented to make meaning of the results. A set of theoretical models of the mechanisms between femaleness, veganism, and DEB/BID is proposed in response to the research question.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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