Chew and Spit (CHSP): A Phenomenological Investigation

1. Your name, academic institution and contact details (Email and website if appropriate)

Phillip Aouad

University of Sydney | School of Psychology

2. Name of Chief Investigator

CI: Phillip Aouad

3. Name of University Supervisor (if a university research project)

Supervisor: Professor Stephen Touyz

4. The name of your project and a brief synopsis (300 words maximum)

– Chew and Spit (CHSP): A Phenomenological Investigation –

As the name suggests, Chew and Spit (CHSP) is the compulsive behavior of chewing food then spitting it out before swallowing, as a means to avoid the intake of nutrients and unwanted calories. Regardless of an individual’s eating disorder (ED) diagnosis, the basis for associated behavior is usually weight management, characteristically with the intention of modifying ones appearance. CHSP is one approach being used by some to achieve this.

A recent systematic review (dated January 2016) was conducted to empirically evaluate literature related to the behaviour of Chew and Spit (CHSP). Clinicians originally thought CHSP was a symptom exhibited by those suffering from compensatory type eating disorders, such as Bulimia Nervosa. The review critically evaluated studies that had examined the distribution of CHSP behaviour, the relationship between CHSP and EDs, as well as physiological and social ramifications.

Database searches revealed only nine studies that met eligibility criteria. With key findings highlighting that CHSP was more akin to restrictive type eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa. Furthermore, the extant literature revealed that CHSP might be an indicator of overall ED severity and more frequently presents in younger suffers.

Nonetheless, additional investigation into CHSP is needed in order to better understand the biological, psychosomatic, and psychosocial impact on those engaging in the behaviour. To being this investigation, we are conducting a phenomenological study to better understand what deeper function, or purpose, CHSP may have to individuals. To do this, participants will have had to have engaged in CHSP at some point in their life, and must be willing to participate in a recorded, yet confidential, interview as well as journal/ write about their experiences

5. Recruitment details – who are you looking for

Participants (male and female) who have had a history of eating disorders / chewing and spitting. Participants must be over the age of 18 years old and able to provide informed consent.

6. Human Research Ethics Board and Approval Number

University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC); approval number: 2016/544

7. Opening and closing date for recruitment

6th October 2016 – approx 30 June 2017