Psychological explanations for anorexia

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

  • Trauma, abuse and teasing about one's appearance or body shape are linked to 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
  • A cognitive distortion concerning body weight and shape form within an individual
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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
  • This theory does not account for the possibility of individual differences
  • It's an un-falsifiable theory
  • There's a strong cultural bias for this theory

3. What is 'Family Systems Theory'?

  • Families may help to perpetuate eating disorders by praising a person's slenderness and self-control, thereby reinforcing their behaviour
  • 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"
  • That people with anorexia do not require family approval in order to starve themsleves
  • The individual with anorexia nervosa is viewed as a symptom of dysfunctional family relationships and structures

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)
  • Individualism, Lack of Empathy, Rigidity, Conflict Avoidance
  • Enmeshment, Over-Protection, Rigidity, Conflict Avoidance
  • Over-Protection, Lack of Empathy, Over-Involvement in academia, Introversion

5. Who's research concluded that: "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"?

  • Polivy and Herman
  • Stormer and Thompson
  • Minuchin et al
  • Rastam and Gillberg


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