Psychological explanations of AN: Psychodynamic


Psychological explanations of AN: Psychodynamic


  • Hilde Bruch's theory is supported by Stiener et al. They found that the parents of children with anorexia nervosa would often 'anticipate' their child's needs rather than allowing them to feel hungry. Furthermore Button and Warren examined a group of anorexia sufferers for 7 years after they were diagnosed with anorexia. These individuals relied excessively on the opinions of other and felt a lack of control over their own lives which aligns itself with Burch's theory.



As the psychological explanations only assume that anorexia nervosa is a result of the way we are brought up, they only consider nurture and ignore nature (our biology). Bailer et al compared serotonin levels of those recovering from either restricting type AN or binging/purging type AN. They found a significant increase in serotonin activity in those recovering from binging/purging type AN. They also found increased levels of anxiety in this type. They suggested that the anxiety created by the increased serotonin activity triggers AN. This research supports the view that biology/nature plays a role in the development of anorexia nervosa. The view that anorexia is only caused by psychological factors is reductionist because it reduces complex human behaviour to one factor. When considering AN we should take a holistic point of view and include both nature and nurture.


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