Biological explanations of AN: Reproductive succession hypothesis

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Biological explanations of AN: Reproductive succession hypothesis



  • This hypothesis is supported by the observation that menarche (the onset of puberty) is delayed in pre-pubertal girls with AN. Additionally since amenorrhoea is a typical characteristic of AN, this means that reproduction is effectively suspended in anorexic females. However, this hypothesis is gender bias, as only women will experience amenorrhoea and are mentioned within the hypothesis. According to recent statistics 25% of adults with eating disorders are men. This means that the reproduction suppression hypothesis is low in internal validity because it does not represent the whole of the target population.


Although the biological (neurological explanations of AN are reductionist, they do have a significant real world application. In America, several people with AN are refused treatment because it was assumed that AN was not “biologically based” and was caused by the persons own behaviour. Research into the biological explanations has meant that more people can get treatment for anorexia nervosa, showing the effectiveness of the research.


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