An interpretative phenomenological analysis of eating behaviours and mealtimes experiences of young people with Tourette syndrome

Sandra-Eve Bamigbade, Samantha Rogers, Wendy Wills, Amanda Ludlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Little is known about how young people with Tourette Syndrome (TS) perceive their own eating behaviours and subsequent effects on their mealtimes. Six adolescents aged 12 -14 years with a self-reported clinical diagnosis of TS took part in semi-structured interviews. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the transcribed interviews revealed central experiences of mealtime challenges in relation to their tics. Tics were described as creating functional mealtime challenges, often interrupting their ability to eat, drink and be seated. While sensory-based food preferences were noted, including the need for food to be plated a certain way, these preferences were not viewed as being problematic. Adolescents taking Aripiprazole reported dissatisfaction with the appetite stimulating side effects and subsequent weight gain. Eating out-of-home was found to be especially challenging, with some of the young people reporting feeling self-conscious and stigmatised when eating out-of-home, including at friends’ houses. There is a need for clinical guidance around eating and mealtimes, to meet the specific need of young people with TS and their families. Support from clinicians could entail monitoring changes in eating patterns resulting from tics and/or from side effects of medication, as well as in helping young people to manage any discomfort associated with eating out.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood, Culture & Society
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2024

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