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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    • "Other explanations of these differences between mothers and fathers suggest that this may be a reflection of the general finding that women report more physical and psychological complaints and a lower quality of life (O'Rourke and Tuokko 2004 ) and psychological wellbeing than men (Bédard et al. 2005). Results from prior studies about family patterns and dysfunctions as an antecedent in EDs are not consistent (Polivy and Herman 2002; Wells and Sadowski 2001 ). In the present study, we did not observe any gender differences in terms of family cohesion and adaptability, which is in accordance with the findings of Whitney et al. (2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to identify factors related to dysfunctional family functioning that may be associated with the severity of symptoms among adolescent patients with an Eating Disorder (ED) at first-contact care. We recruited a total of 48 mothers and 45 fathers of 50 patients with an ED from an ED Unit in Madrid, Spain, between October 2011 and July 2012. Parents completed self-report assessments related to family functioning and psychological wellbeing. Patients went through clinical interviews and completed a self-report questionnaire assessing symptom severity. Compared to fathers, mothers showed higher levels of anxiety and emotional over-involvement and perceived to a greater degree the positive and negative aspects of their experience as caregivers. Regarding the relationship between family functioning and symptom severity, mothers´ perceptions of their family relationships as enmeshed and less adaptive, along with anxiety, accounted for 39% of variance in the severity of ED symptoms. Anxiety and symptom accommodation by the fathers accounted for 27% of variance in the symptom severity. Interventions that help parents to cope with their caregiving role should target behavioral, cognitive and emotional aspects of their functioning and be gender-specific, to improve the outcome of ED in patients.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Women & Health
    • "Cognitive fusion is often seen as supporting experiential avoidance (Hayes, Luoma, Bond, Masuda, & Lillis, 2006). Hayes et al. (1996) argue that experientially avoidant behaviors such as the suppression of negatively evaluated thoughts and distraction strategies (e.g, avoiding negative thoughts by focusing on the positives , self-bullying or opting out of activities as a way of avoiding uncomfortable thoughts), and unwillingness to remain in contact with these private experiences can bring about negative psychological effects, and that these behaviors underlie many psychopathologies including anxiety disorders (Lorig, Singer, Bonanno, & Davis, 1995; Ehlers & Clark, 2000; Salkovskis, 1996; Thorpe & Salkovskis, 1997), depression (Wegner, 1994; Wenzlaff & Luxton, 2003) and eating disorders (Polivy & Herman, 2002). ACT clinicians encourage clients to 'defuse' from their negative private experiences by viewing their thoughts in a less rigid and more flexible way, rather than considering them to be true and having literal meaning (Healy et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Limited research has been carried out with respect to relationships among how individuals relate to thoughts and levels of cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, psychological distress and mindfulness. Recent third-wave cognitive behavioral therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) use techniques that focus less on changing the content of thoughts, and place more emphasis on changing the client's relationship to thoughts. For this reason, it is important to consider initial relations between the client's thoughts and the factors that ACT focuses on. The current study investigated associations among several ACT-consistent factors and how they relate to evaluations of positive and negative self-relevant thoughts. Seventy-nine participants completed ACT-consistent psychological measures and thought evaluation measures. The results indicated that ACT-consistent variables were associated with thought relations (i.e., believability, discomfort and willingness) rather than evaluations of content (i.e., negativity). Positive associations were observed among greater levels of psychological distress and psychological inflexibility (i.e., greater experiential avoidance and cognitive fusion). Mediation analysis identified believability of negative thoughts as a partially mediating factor in the predictive ability of mindfulness, experiential avoidance and cognitive fusion on psychological distress, with stronger negative thought believability positively associated with greater levels of psychological distress. The results are discussed in terms of the clinical implications of the relations observed.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science
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    • "Second, it has been reported that people with eating pathology deny having a problem and often only become engaged in treatment at an advanced stage of the illness (Polivy & Herman, 2002). Individuals were recruited from both the university and the community to ensure sufficient variance in the data to test the psychometric properties of the developed scale. "
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    ABSTRACT: Key practitioner message: The PEP-S is a valid, reliable, quick and easy to administer self-report questionnaire that measures pride related to eating pathology. The PEP-S assesses four clinically relevant dimensions: (1) pride in weight loss, food control and thinness, (2) pride in healthy weight and healthy eating, (3) pride in outperforming others and social recognition and (4) pride in capturing other people's attention due to extreme thinness. The PEP-S has very good internal and test-retest reliability, and very good convergent and discriminant validity. The PEP-S distinguishes between women with higher and lower levels of eating psychopathology. The PEP-S makes an important contribution to understanding pride in eating psychopathology, which is essential from both clinical and theoretical perspectives.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
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