Psychological explanations SLT

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  • Psychological explanations for AN (SLT)
    • SLT
      • Learning
        • Direct learning of AN involves operant and classical conditioning
        • Indirect learning involves observation of other people- behaviour is modelled and imitated if it is vicariously reinforced
      • Modelling
        • Models: 1. Provide a template to imitate 2. Can exist IRL or be synthetic (cartoon) 3. Modifies social norms by establishing acceptable or usual behaviour.
          • Media is a powerful transmitter of Cultural ideals of body shape/size.
      • Vicarious reinforcement
        • Model is rewarded for loosing weight and learns imitation has positive consequences
          • Models: 1. Provide a template to imitate 2. Can exist IRL or be synthetic (cartoon) 3. Modifies social norms by establishing acceptable or usual behaviour.
            • Media is a powerful transmitter of Cultural ideals of body shape/size.
        • Family members are major sources of VR
        • If an older siblings actions are rewarded younger siblings are much more likely to imitate behaviour.
    • Ditmar et al (2006): SLT and AN
      • 162 British girls ages 5 - 8 were shown images of Barbie dolls, Emma dolls, or control objects (flowers etc.)
        • If Barbie was scaled up to human size, her waist would be 39% smaller than most AN patients. Emma dolls have a more realistic shape
        • Girls who saw Barbie images were significantly more dissatisfied with their own body shape and had lower self esteem
          • Young girls identify with Barbie because of glamour associated with body shape - making them vulnerable to AN
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • Becker et al found the most significant predictor of eating disorders of adolescent females in/on Fiji was how many of their friends had access to the media
          • SLT predicts that individual girls are more likely to develop AN if her friends have access to the media, even if she doesn't
            • Suggests that favourable discussion of thin celebrities encourages reinforcement of behaviour seeking thinness
        • SLT explains cultural changes linked to AN
          • AN is less common in non-western cultures but the numbers are rapidly increasing due to changing cultural norms
            • Increased rate in Japan in the last 40 years as traditional values of favouring plumpness are displaced by western culture through the media
        • Treatment applications
          • Treatment where immediate weight gain is necessary
          • Modelling as a treatment
            • Celebrities that offer alternative to the thin ideal
          • Strength because it increases validity as it has real life applciations
      • Weaknesses
        • Fails to explain why AN is not more common
          • Another factor must be involved - all women are exposed to 'ideal body' role models, meaning Genetic/ Environmental factors must lead to an underlying vulnerability

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