Volume 2, Article 3

The role of nature in the recovery from eating disorders among women in Norway
Una Flaata and Per Ingvar Haukeland

Citation: Flaata, U., & Haukeland, P. I. (2022). Gratitude as a predictor of pro-environmental behaviour? A survey investigation considering the role of environmental values and nature connectedness. Journal of Ecopsychology, 2, 3, 1-11. https://joe.nationalwellbeingservice.com/volumes/volume-2-2022/volume-2-article-3/

Processing dates: Submitted 17th August 2021; Resubmitted 19th January 2022; Accepted 6th February 2022; Published: 19th July 2022

Volume 2 Article 3


Abstract
Background: The background of this article is an increase of eating disorders among women in Norway.
There is much research on eating disorders and on the relationship between nature (outdoor life) and
health, but there is less on the bridge between them, which is our interest. The article draws empirically
on a study that looks at how women with eating disorders perceive and use nature in their recovery
process.
Objective: The objective with this article is two-fold. First, to explore how the women studied perceive,
use, and experience nature in their recovery process. Second, to outline the role nature plays in the
process.
Method: The study uses in-depth interviews and a critical narrative methodology to analyze the stories
told by three young women about the role nature played in their recovery process.
Findings: We find in the stories told two perceptual shifts related to the role of nature. First, a shift
from seeing nature as something “out there” to something one is integral to. Second, a shift from seeing
nature as an arena for recovery to an actor that acts as a helper and health promoter in the recovery
process.
Discussion: We discuss our findings in an ecophilosophical perspective using the concept of the
“ecological self”. We also discuss how our findings relate to the field of recovery and health promotion
(salutogenesis).
Conclusion: The article concludes that nature plays an active role as an arena and as an actor in the
recovery process, and that both of these roles are important. Furthermore, to reconnect to nature,
in the process of recovery, is reconnecting to an ecological Self that remembers a healthier past and
re-imagines a healthier future.
Keywords: nature-connection, ecophilosophy/ecological Self, narrative, eating disorders, recovery, health
promotion


JoE-2-3


Biographies
Una Flaata
is a university lecturer with the University of South-Eastern Norway, Faculty of Humanities, Sports and Educational Science, Department of Sports, Physical Education and Outdoor Studies, Norway
Email: una.flaata@usn.no

http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2516-6907

Prof. Per Ingvar Haukeland is with the University of South-Eastern Norway, Faculty of Humanities, Sports
and Educational Science, Department of Sports, Physical Education and Outdoor Studies, Norway
Email: per.i.haukeland@usn.no
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7983-5769