AQA A2 Psychology Unit 3 Eating Behaviour: Psychological Explanations Of Obesity Notes

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A2 Psychology Unit 3 Eating Behaviour: Psychological Explanations Of Obesity Notes

What You Need To Know:

  • Psychological explanations of one eating disorder: e.g. obesity

What is it?

Obesity can be identified by looking at Body Mass Index (BMI), population averages, waist circumference, or percentage of body fat measured with calipers at various points on the body, but there are difficulties with all of these.

Prentice (1999) argues that, for obesity to occur, energy intake must remain higher than energy expenditure over a prolonged period. According to Kopelman (1999) obesity is better seen as group of varied disorders rather than as a single one, with causes ranging from purely biological to purely psychological.

Psychological explanations of obesity:

Emotional and restrained eating

  • There is a greater risk of over-eating in emotional eaters.
  • Herman and Mack (1975) - emotional arousal reduces eating restraint.
  • Heatherton et al (1993) - over-eating is an escape from self awareness caused by emotional pain.

Evaluation

  • Not all research agrees that emotional eating results in weight gain.
  • The theory explains why people might fail to maintain diet weight loss over time.

Emotional problems

  • Some studies show the incidence of anxiety and depression is higher

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