PSYA3 - Eating Behaviour - Anorexia Nervosa

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Symptoms of anorexia nervosa:

  • Body weight less than 85% of normal weight for age and height
  • Intense fear of becoming fat
  • Distorted perception of body weight and shape
  • Amenorrhoea (loss of 3 consecutive menstrual cycles in women)

99% of cases are seen in women

Psychological explanations


SLT - learn through observing and imitating models in the media. 

Striegel-Moore and Bulik (2007) - media images of idealised women have become taller and slimmer in the last 50 years which is associated with the rise in eating disorders

Groesz et al (2002) - meta review showed exposure to images of thin women increases body dissatisfaction in females.

Becker et al (2002) - eating disorders only found in Fiji after the introduction of TV and exposure to Western images of women.

Only a tiny % of women exposed to these images develop an eating disorder - must be other factors.

Girls internalise media and culturally defined standards of female beauty - leads to dissatisfaction with own body shape and vulnerability to an eating disorder.

Females who develop eating disorders tend to be perfectionists with high social anxiety and low self-esteem - personality makes them vulnerable.

Psychodynamic approach

Bruch (1973) - girls develop anorexia when trying to feel independent or autonomous in families where autonomy is…


Eliza Hogg



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