Psychological explanations of AN: Cultural ideals


Psychological explanations of AN: Cultural ideals



  • However, this study is gender biased, as it only focuses on girls. 25% of those who suffer from an eating disorder are men. This means that the target population is not being properly analysed, reducing the internal validity of the study. Also, the results obtained may not be the same for men and can't be generalised to the opposite sex.
  • Hoek et al conducted a study which contradicts the idea that the incidence of AN would be lower in non-western cultures because they don't place the same values on attractiveness. The researchers examined the records of 44,192 people admitted to hospital between 1987 and 1989, in Curacao (a non-westernised Caribbean island where it is acceptable to be overweight). They found 6 cases of AN, a rate that they claim is within the range of rates of AN reported in western cultures.


The fact that the rate of AN appears to be the same or very similar in both western and non-western cultures gives the impression that there must be biological factors involved in the cause of anorexia nervosa. These biological factors may include a disturbance in neurotransmitters, including serotonin.


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