Psychological Explanations of Anorexia Nervosa Full Essay

Grade A 24 mark Essay for PSYA3 Eating Behaviour - Anorexia Nervosa

HideShow resource information
Preview of Psychological Explanations of Anorexia Nervosa Full Essay

First 480 words of the document:

Discuss two or more psychological explanations of anorexia
nervosa (8+16 marks)
Cultural ideals could be a psychological explanation for anorexia nervosa. Research
has reported that many teenagers are dissatisfied with their weight and have a
distorted view of their body image. Therefore, western standards of attractiveness
could be a contributing factor to Anorexia Nervosa. Gregory et al found that the
National Diet and Nutrition Survey of Young People claims that 16% of 15-18 year
olds in the UK were currently on a diet. This suggests that the western cultures
causes teenagers to be feel pressurised into looking a certain way, in order to fit into
However, there is research evidence to show that anorexia nervosa may not just be
present in those from a western culture. For example, Hoek et al had researchers
examine the records of 44,192 people admitted to hospital between 1987 and 1989
in Curacao, a non-westernised population. They found 6 cases of anorexia nervosa,
suggesting that anorexia may not be cultural as there could be other possible
factors which trigger the disorder and therefore undermines Gregory et al's findings.
Studies such as Hoek et al's have led to emic analysis, thus being an example of
cultural relativism for assuming that all cultures are different and equally worth
Another psychological explanation for anorexia nervosa is media influences. The
media are a major source of influence for the body image attitudes of Western
adolescents. This is because they constantly portray images of thin girls which
could negatively affect a western adolescent girl into having unnecessary concerns
about their body image. Jones and Buckingham found that those with low self
esteem are more likely to compare themselves to idealised images portrayed in the
media. This suggests that the media presents adolescents with the information but it
is still more likely to affect certain individuals more than others.
There is research to support the claim that the media is somewhat responsible for
shaping perceptions of body image. For example, Becker et al studied eating
behaviours and attitudes amongst adolescent Fijan girls after TV was introduced in
1995. They found that the girls had a desire to lose weight in order to look more like
western TV characters. This suggests that the media had a major influence on how
girls perceived their bodies, which could be alternatively be a trigger for anorexia
There is further research which supports the findings from Becker et al's study.
Yamamiya found that providing an intervention before being exposed to idealised
female images prevents adverse effects of exposure. Therefore, this suggests that
research into media influences as an explanation for anorexia nervosa is likely to be

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

An IDA into psychological explanations into anorexia nervosa is that majority of
eating disorder have concentrate on the eating habits of women only. However,
recent statistics have shown that 25% of adults with eating disorders are men. This
raises an issue because it suggests that research into disorders such an anorexia
nervosa fail to consider the psychological implications of male sufferers, for
although women may seem more susceptible to having eating disorders, this does
not mean that males do not face the same problems.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all resources »