Psychological Explanation for Anorexia Nervosa - Word

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Psychological Explanations for Anorexia Nervosa
Sociocultural Explanations for Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa is a type of eating disorder where the individual fears that they are, or will
become, obese and therefore engage in self-starvation to stop this from happening.
Sociocultural explanations include cultural ideals with the media and ethnicity and peer influence.
Cultural ideals include the factor of attractiveness in Western cultures is a major contributory factor in
the development of Anorexia. Hoek et al, in 1998 set out to test that Anorexia is rare in non-western
cultures where the emphasis on being thin is minimal. They examined 44,192 people admitted to
hospital across a year in a non-westernised Caribbean island where being overweight was
acceptable. They found a total of six cases of Anorexia which is within the same range of rates of
Anorexia reported in western countries. This suggests that there are no cultural boundaries to
Anorexia and that culture may not be so important in the development of Anorexia as previously
Media influences are seen as a major source to influence body image attitudes, such as the portrayal
of thin models on television and in magazines contribute to the adolescent drive to be thin.
This has been supported by the Becker et al, in 2002 where they studied a group of adolescent Fijian
girls after being introduced to the television. The girls soon stated that they wanted to lose weight
be become more like the western television characters. This can also add some weight to the cultural
ideals argument that thinness is a mainly western culture ideal.
Jones and Buckingham in 2005 however, showed that the media influences everyone differently by
stating that people with low self-esteem are more likely to compare themselves to idealised images
portrayed in the media.
Real world application for media can be shown in France in the fashion industry where the media can
voluntarily sign a charter of good will. The charter involves a pledge to fashion houses, magazines
and advertising agencies to use a diversity of body types and the stereotypical `thin ideal'.
Ethnicity shows that other cultural groups do not place the same value on thinness. Grabe and Hyde in
2006 support the fact that Anorexia has been reported less in the black population than in the white
by finding a difference between African-American, Caucasian and Hispanic females.
African-American's reported less body dissatisfaction that the other two groups.
However, Cachelin and Regan in 2006 found no significant difference in disordered eating rates
between African-Americans and White Caucasians.
Peer Influences is important during adolescent years and teenagers want to be accepted. Eisenberg
et al, in 2005 showed in a study of US students that dieting among friends was related to unhealthy
weight control behaviours such as diet pills or purging.
Jones and Crawford in 2006 found that overweight girls and underweight boys were the most likely
to be teased which reinforces gender-based ideals of how people are meant to look. However,
these ideals do not emerge until adolescence and a study by Lunde et al, in 2006 of 10 year olds
found a positive correlation between BMI and teasing for both boys and girls.
Psychological factors of Anorexia Nervosa
Psychological factors include Bruch's psychodynamic theory.
Page 86 & 87 Psychology A2 by Clara Flanagan and Mike Cardwell

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Psychological Explanations for Anorexia Nervosa
Bruch (1973) claimed that Anorexia originates from childhood and was an effect of how parents
responded to the infant's needs; either effectively or ineffectively.
Effective parenting is when the parents respond appropriately to their child's needs, for example,
feeding them when they're hungry and comforting them when they're anxious.
Ineffective parenting is when the parents respond inappropriately so they will feed the child when
they're actually anxious and cuddle them when they're hungry.…read more


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