AQA A2 Psychology Unit 3 Eating Behaviour: Psychological Explanations Of One Eating Disorder - Anorexia Nervosa Notes

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A2 Psychology Unit 3 Eating Behaviour: Psychological Explanations Of One Eating Disorder - Anorexia Nervosa Notes

What You Need To Know:

  • Psychological Explanations Of One Eating Disorder - Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa:

What is it?

  • Refusal to maintain minimum normal weight and fear of weight gain.
  • Deliberate weight-loss and a weight of 15% or more below normal.
  • Disturbance in perception of own body shape, leading to an insistence that the person is overweight.
  • It is often co-morbid with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or depression.
  • There are two kinds: `restricted` type - associated with self-starvation, but not purging; and `binge-eating/purging` type.
  • There are many medical side effects, with about 5% dying of the disorder.

Psychological Explanations Of Anorexia Nervosa:

Experiential factors

  • Trauma, abuse, bullying, teasing about appearance, and bereavement are linked to eating disorder development.

Research

  • Rastam and Gillberg (1991) found that 14% of anorexics had experienced a negative life event in the three months prior to the disorder onset whereas none of the controls had.
  • Other research supports this, but such research is correlational and retrospective so hard to interpret.
  • Childhood sexual abuse is a risk factor, but not every abused child grows to develop an eating disorder, nor is it clear why there should be a link.

Research

  • Casper and Lyubomirsky (1997) suggest that adverse early experiences lead to other psychopathologies underlying eating disorders.
  • Polivy and Herman (2002) suggested that where a person feels their life is `out of control` in some way, controlling themselves and their body and weight provides them with a sense of control. Individuals therefore derive emotional gratification from anorexia.

Cognitive factors

  • Anorexia is associated with obsessive thoughts and rigid thinking patterns.
  • Socio-cultural pressures can be converted into behaviours through cognitive processes.
  • Once

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