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Dr Russell Delderfield

Male Eating Disorders Research

Welcome to this site about qualitative research in male disordered eating.

Here you can:

*All of my research is reviewed by an expert panel at the University to ensure ethicality.


Humane and revealing, this is a truly groundbreaking work. Ian Burkitt, Professor Emeritus, author of Social Selves

My new book...

  • 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.

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.

Title card of documentary


This video is a documentary about male eating disorders by Florence Pellicani.

  • Postgraduate Researcher Development
  • Male Eating Disorders Research
  • Visiting Lecturer King's College London

Location: B0.05, Chesham Building

Telephone: +44 (0) 1274 233629


Twitter: @MaleEDResearch

ORCID ID0000-0001-5714-2497

Research Journal

Current Research

Pluralistic Qualitative Analysis of Men's Eating Disorder Experiences

In order to further investigate the phenomenon of male eating disorders, this project uses naturally occurring data from the open Internet (Public Domain Data). Each story has been volunteered to be publicly displayed. None of the texts are password protected nor stored for secure use, away from public consumption.

This ambitious new research experiments 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). 

Initially, I am using the following three analytical approaches:

  • Narrative Analysis
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Dialogical Analysis.

Ethical approval has been granted by the Chair of the Humanities, Social and Health Sciences Research Ethics Panel at the University of Bradford on 10th February 2017. 

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.

Ethical approval has been granted by the Vice-chairs of the Humanities, Social and Health Sciences Research Ethics Panel at the University of Bradford, 13th September 2017.

Previous Research

Exploring male disordered eating: a hermeneutic study of men’s relationships with food, body and self.

This PhD research project is complete as of December 2016. The research monograph of my thesis is now published by Palgrave.




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 Expertise and Supervisory Interests

  • Men's experiences of disordered eating
  • Social psychology of eating disorders
  • Counselling and psychotherapy for male eating disorders
  • Masculinities and Critical Men’s Studies
  • Misandry and Masculism
  • Philosophy and methodology of interpretive research
  • Hermeneutics for qual research
  • Qualitative methodologies
  • Researcher development, including person-centred practice
  • Reflective Practice: its nature, impact and value.

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 social psychology 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.

I am also working on understandings of misandry as an aspect of health inequality within society, the philosophical underpinnings of masculism as a counterpart to feminism, and the nature of qualitative inquiry when using interpretive approaches such as hermeneutics, phenomenology, discourse analysis, narrative analysis, memory work, biographical work and dialogical analysis. 

I have varied expertise and interests, as such I'm also interested in pedagogic, andragogic, and heutagogic work that explores social and emotional aspects of learning in researcher development, person-centred practice and, in particular, reflective practice.



I am the person behind...

Qualitative Methodologist Logo Grey

Abridged Professional History

Professional Experience

  • lecturer in qualitative research in clinical education
  • Postgraduate Research Framework lead & researcher developer
  • academic skills advisor
  • language resource centre manager for France Télécom 
  • primary school teacher & senior management
  • head of English language education centre
  • lecturer in education practice for Initial Teacher Training
  • lecturer in reflective practice and professional development
  • counsellor
  • trustee of a national charity.


  • BA Hons (Interpreting and Translation, Dual Languages)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Compulsory)
  • Qualified Teacher Status
  • Postgraduate Diploma (Research Methods)
  • PhD.

Eating Disorders in Men

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;
  • bingeing;
  • 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.


 You can find out more about eating disorders in men by visiting the MaleVoicED or BEAT website.