Causes of Eating Disorders

Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Erindale Campus, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Annual Review of Psychology (Impact Factor: 21.81). 02/2002; 53(1):187-213. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135103
Source: PubMed


Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa have emerged as the predominant eating disorders. We review the recent research evidence pertaining to the development of these disorders, including sociocultural factors (e.g., media and peer influences), family factors (e.g., enmeshment and criticism), negative affect, low self-esteem, and body dissatisfaction. Also reviewed are cognitive and biological aspects of eating disorders. Some contributory factors appear to be necessary for the appearance of eating disorders, but none is sufficient. Eating disorders may represent a way of coping with problems of identity and personal control.

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    • "A long tradition of work within eating disorders has emphasized that parenting plays some role in the emergence and maintenance of eating pathology (Polivy & Herman, 2002). Moreover, research based in theories such as the social expectation model of perfectionism (Flett, Hewitt, Oliver, & Macdonald, 2002) has emphasized that parental characteristics have an influence on how perfectionism develops (Flett et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Perfectionism mediates the relation between parental psychological control and disordered eating, but it is unclear whether it functions similarly within associations between other parenting characteristics and eating pathology. The current study tested socially-prescribed perfectionism (SPP) as a mediator of the relations between two facets of perceived parenting style—autonomy support and psychological control— with disordered eating. Undergraduates (N = 333, 100% female) completed self-report measurement of study variables. Results indicated that psychological control and autonomy support were moderately correlated. Additionally, the indirect effect of parenting variables on disordered eating through SPP was significant across reports for both mother and father. When the directionality of variables was reversed, no indirect effects were significant, supporting the hypothesized relations between study variables. Findings reinforce prior work highlighting perfectionism as an important mechanism in the etiology of disordered eating.
    Personality and Individual Differences 09/2015; 88(1):17-20. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2015.08.038 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    • "In addition, this struggle to identify, coupled with the pressures of heteronormative identity development, may also help explain why the unsure females in our sample were most at risk for DES. In fact, in a meta-analysis exploring the risk factors of EDs, Polivy and Herman (2002) highlight problems of identity and personal control as some of the primary individual risk factors that contribute to the development of EDs. Unsure females may try to resolve their feelings of uncertainty by controlling their food intake and/or " the pursuit of slimness " (p. "
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    ABSTRACT: Research shows that gay and bisexual males are at increased risk for disordered eating symptoms (DES); however, studies examining DES amongst lesbians and bisexual women have produced mixed findings. Furthermore, few studies have included questioning or "unsure" individuals. This study examined DES symptoms in adolescents and young adults across self-reported sexual attraction and behavior. Participants were recruited from ten primary care sites in Pennsylvania and administered the Behavioral Health Screen (BHS) - a web-based screening tool that assesses psychiatric symptoms and risk behaviors - during a routine visit. As expected, males who were attracted to other males exhibited significantly higher disordered eating scores than those only attracted to members of the opposite sex. Males who engaged in sexual activities with other males also exhibited significantly higher scores than those who only engaged in sexual activities with females. Amongst females, there were no significant differences in DES scores between females who were only attracted to females and those only attracted to males. Those who reported being attracted to both sexes, however, had significantly higher scores, on average, than those only attracted to one sex. More surprisingly, females who were unsure of who they were attracted to reported the highest DES scores of all. These findings are contrary to previous assumptions that same-sex attraction plays a protective role against eating pathology in females. Females who are unsure or attracted to both sexes may actually be at increased risk for developing DES. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Eating behaviors 08/2015; 19:115-119. DOI:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.08.001
    • "A similar critique has been launched against the medical model that underpins existing research on eating disorders (Busanich & McGannon, 2010). Instead, these disorders should be described as multicausal illnesses (Papathomas, 2014) with psychological and biological explanations as well as social and cultural influences (Polivy & Herman, 2002). The aspects on the individual level are of significance but do not offer a full explanation because orthorexia occurs in the context of societal factors that shape behaviours. "
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    ABSTRACT: Bratman first proposed orthorexia nervosa in the late 1990s, defining it an obsession with eating healthy food to achieve, for instance, improved health. Today, in the Swedish media, excessive exercising plays a central role in relation to orthorexia. A few review articles on orthorexia have been conducted; however, these have not focused on aspects of food and eating, sport, exercise, or a societal perspective. The overall aim of this study was to provide an overview and synthesis of what philosophies of science approaches form the current academic framework of orthorexia. Key questions were: What aspects of food and eating are related to orthorexia? What role do exercise and sports play in relation to orthorexia? In what ways are orthorexia contextualized? Consequently, the concept of healthism was used to discuss and contextualize orthorexia. The method used was an integrative literature review; the material covered 19 empirical and theoretical articles published in peer-reviewed journals. This review demonstrates a multifaceted nature of orthorexia research; this field has been examined from four different philosophies of science approaches (i.e., empirical-atomistic, empirical-atomistic with elements of empirical-holistic, empirical-holistic, and rational-holistic) on individual, social, and societal levels. The majority of the articles followed an empirical-atomistic approach that focused on orthorexia as an individual issue, which was discussed using healthism. Our analysis indicates a need for (a) more empirical-holistic research that applies interpretive qualitative methods and uses a social perspective of health, e.g., healthism and (b) examining the role of sports and exercise in relation to orthorexia that takes the problematizing of ‘‘orthorexic behaviours’’ within the sports context into account.
    International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being 08/2015; 10:26799. DOI:10.3402/qhw.v10.26799 · 0.93 Impact Factor
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