Discuss psychological explanations for AN

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  • Created by: KCharlish
  • Created on: 20-03-16 17:01

One explanation for Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is the influence of the media. The 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 that people with low self esteem are more likely to compare themselves to idealised images portrayed in the media.

Peer influences are also believed to play a role towards AN in some cases. Adolescents may be more susceptible to peer influences such as disordered eating patterns within their group. Eisenberg found that dieting among friends was related to unhealthy weight control behaviours. Peers could also contribute to AN through the teasing of underweight boys and overweight girls which may serve to enforce gender based ideals concerning weight and could shape people’s attitudes towards food and developing AN.

Bruch’s psychodynamic explanation distinguishes between effective parents who respond to their child’s needs, and ineffective parents who 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 independence, but are unable to achieve this without taking excessive control over their body shape and developing abnormal eating habits which leads to AN.

There is research support for the explanation of media influences. Becker studied adolescent Fijian girls and found that after the introduction of television to the island, these girls stated a desire to lose weight and be like the women they saw on Western television. This highlights how the media…

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