Psychological approach to AN

Unit 3 Psychology aqa a A2

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  • Created on: 09-06-12 11:24

Sociocultural explanations - cultural ideals AO1/2

Cultural ideals - Western standards of attractiveness are thought to contribute to body dissatisfaction, a distorted body image and AN. Gregory - 16% of 15-18 yr old girls in the UK were currently on a diet. Hoek  - analysed records of around 44,000 people admitted to hospital in the non-Westernised Caribbean island Curacoa where its acceptable to be overweight - 6 cases - said its within the range of the rates of AN reported in Western countries.These results may not reflect other non-Westernised countries - element of ethnocentrism? Cannot assume all other non-Westernised countries will have the same amount of cases - cannot generalise

Ethics - Researchers increasingly using anorexia chat rooms and newsgroups to gain qualitative data from those who actually have AN. Raises several ethical issues for the researcher in relation to privacy, informed consent and the protection of confidentiality. 

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Sociocultural explanations - media influences AO1/

Media influences - portrayal of thin models on TV and in magazines is a significant contributory factor in body image concerns and the drive for thinness among Western adolescent girls - Jones and Buckingham found people with low self-esteem are more likley to compare themselves to idealised images portrayed in the media. Becker - study of Fijian girls - following the introduction of TV girls stated a desire to lose weight to become more like Western TV characters.Yamamiya - instructional intervention prior to media exposure to idealised female images prevents the adverse effects of media influence. SO the media can and does have an effect on the development of AN but these effects can be avoided. 

IDA Real-world application - media has a powerful effect on eating behaviour in young people, fashion industry in France has responded by agreeing to use a diversity of body types and not to stereotype the thin ideal.

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Sociocultural explanations - ethnicity AO1/2/3

Ethnicity - Other culutral groups place less emphasis on thinness in women - occurence of AN in non-Western culutres and black populations is a lot lower. Pollack - In many non-Western cultures there is a more positive attitude towards larger body sizes which are associated with attractiveness and fertility.

Unsupporting research - Cachelin and Regan found no significant differences in eating disorders in african-american and white-caucasian pp's. Roberts - ethnic differences were only true for older adolescents 

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Sociocultural explanations - peer influences AO1/2

Peer influences - Eisenberg - US study - dieting among friends was related to unhealthy weight control behaviours such as the use of diet pils. Jones and Crawford - teasing about overweight girls and boys may enforce gender-based ideals concerning weight.

Unsupporting evidence - Schroff and Thompson - no correlation among friends on measures of disordered eating in an adolescent sample.

Evidence - Jones and Crawford - support for claim that overweight girls and boys are more likely to be teased and so develop disordered eating patterns - gender differences didin't occur till adolscence.

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Psychological factors - Bruch's Psychodynamic theo

Bruch distingushed between effective and ineffective parents - effective parents respond to their childs needs whereas ineffetive parents fail to respond appropriately. Children of ineffective parents grow up confused about their internal needs and become overly reliant on their parents. During adolescence these children strive for undependance, but are unable to achieve this without taking excessive control over their body shape and developing abnormal eating habits.

Support for ineffective children being reliant - Steiner - parents of adolscents with AN - tendancy to define their childs needs rather than letting them define their own - supports idea that children of ineffecitve parents become overly reliant on their parents

Support for lack of control - Button and Warren - examined a group of AN's seven years after they were diagnosed - relied excessively on the opinions of others and felt a lack of control in their lives

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Psychological factors - Personality AO1/2/3

Perfectionism - Strober - retrospectively studied personality traits in teenage boys ang girls recieving treatment for AN - found high levels of perfectionism 73% girls 50% boys

Halmi - 322 women - Europe and US - found women with a history of AN scored higher on the scale of perfectionism and the extent of perfectionism was related to the severity of the disorder

Halmi - relatives of individuals with AN - perfectionism as a trait appears to run in families - suggests perfectionism represents a genetic vulnerability to the develop of AN - the genetic vulnerability must be trigged by an external stimuli such as idealised images in the media or peer pressure.

Nilsson - those with short illness of anorexia had lower levels of perfectionism whereas those with higher levels of perfectionism were at risk of having anorexia for a long period of time

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Psychological factors - Personality AO1/2/3

Impulsiveness - individuals with AN act more impulsively on self-report - Montegomery - compared to a control group patients with AN responded rapidly but incorrectly to a perfomance task - indicating behavioural impulsiveness rather despite their low self-esteem reported impulsiveness.

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