Psychological explanations for anorexia

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1. What did Striegel-Moore and Smolak find when investigating the sociocultural factors of eating disorders?

  • "The development of anorexia nervosa is often dependent on the social views that the people around them have of the ideal body type"
  • "The more than thinness is prized by different social groups, the higher the prevalence of eating disorders within them."
  • "Even in cultures where great emphasis is placed on being slim, considerable variation exists in the extent to which people internalize their culture's valuation of thinness"
  • "Eating disorders usually form in individualist cultures, where the pre-occupation with body image is more intense in the individuals themselves"
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2. What's one main criticism of family systems theory?

  • That evidence for this theory is largely based on the observations of clinician who support it
  • It's an un-falsifiable theory
  • There's a strong cultural bias for this theory
  • This theory does not account for the possibility of individual differences

3. What is 'Family Systems Theory'?

  • That people with anorexia do not require family approval in order to starve themsleves
  • The development of anorexia nervosa in a young person helps to deflect attention away from their problems and difficulties located in the family structure as a whole"
  • The individual with anorexia nervosa is viewed as a symptom of dysfunctional family relationships and structures
  • Families may help to perpetuate eating disorders by praising a person's slenderness and self-control, thereby reinforcing their behaviour

4. One psychological explanation for Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is 'family influences'. Within family influences, what are the four main characteristics of the families associated with the development of AN?

  • Emneshment, Introversion, Individualism, Verbal Abuse (IE about one's appearance)
  • Enmeshment, Over-Protection, Rigidity, Conflict Avoidance
  • Over-Protection, Lack of Empathy, Over-Involvement in academia, Introversion
  • Individualism, Lack of Empathy, Rigidity, Conflict Avoidance

5. How do experiential factors affect an individual's development of anorexia nervosa?

  • Mood disorders are often present at the same time as eating disorders
  • Any type of abuse in the home can lead to the development of anorexia nervosa as individuals use it as a mechanism for control
  • Trauma, abuse and teasing about one's appearance or body shape are linked to anorexia nervosa
  • A cognitive distortion concerning body weight and shape form within an individual


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