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.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "In accordance with risk factor research (Jacobi & Fittig, 2010; Jacobi, Hayward, de Zwaan, Kraemer, & Agras, 2004; Polivy & Herman, 2002; The McKnight Investigators, 2003), both preoccupation with weight and shape (i.e., weight and shape concerns, thin body preoccupation, body dissatisfaction, body-image disturbance, appearance anxiety, and body shame) and negative affect (i.e., affective states, depression, and anxiety ), are suggested as two of the single most prominent risk factors and contributors to the development of eating disorders. A moderate degree of evidence also exists to support the remaining risk factors identified as being in common across these models (see Jacobi & Fittig, 2010; Polivy & Herman, 2002; Shomaker & Furman, 2009; Wang, Peterson, McCormick, & Austin, 2013 for reviews). Given the importance of these risk factors for the development of disordered eating pathology , their inclusion within comprehensive theoretical models for disordered eating may be pivotal in informing the development of future effective interventions for disordered eating. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim: Despite significant advances in the development of prevention and treatment interventions for eating disorders and disordered eating over the last decade, there still remains a need to develop more effective interventions. In line with the 2008 Medical Research Council (MRC) evaluation framework from the United Kingdom for the development and evaluation of complex interventions, the development of sound theory is a necessary precursor to the development of effective interventions. Thus the aim of the current review is to identify the existing models for disordered eating and identify those models which have helped inform the development of prevention and/or treatment interventions for disordered eating. Method: A literature search was conducted by using the PsycINFO database (OvidSP). Keywords anorexia nervosa (Title) OR bulimia nervosa (Title) OR disordered eating (Title) OR eating disorders (Title) OR bulimic (Title) OR eating (Title) AND model (Title) OR theory (Title) were used to locate pertinent publications in all journals using an advanced search. Publications were then inspected for studies meeting inclusion criteria. Results: While an extensive range of theoretical models for the development of disordered eating were identified, only a few models have led to the development of effective interventions. Of the fifty-four models described in the literature, only ten (18.5%) had progressed beyond mere description and on to the development of interventions that have been evaluated. The frontrunners in the efforts to develop complex interventions for disordered eating from theory and the intervention approaches informed by them will be discussed. Conclusion: This review will add important insights to the eating disorder literature and help to inform the development of effective approaches to prevention and treatment.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jun 2016
    • "However, gender, BMI and maternal care were also detected to predict eating pathology risk among this population. Within ED literature, low self-esteem is considered a very important vulnerability factor in the development of these diseases (Courtney, Gamboz, & Johnson, 2008; Polivy & Herman, 2002). However, in the present study, this variable hadn't a direct effect on eating disorder risk. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: To investigate dysfunctional eating behaviors and psychological variables typically associated to eating disturbances such as low self-esteem, perfectionism, shame, perceived parental care and protectiveness in obese and normal weight adolescents and to examine how the main powerful eating disorder risk factors interact with each other which explains eating psychopathology vulnerability. Method: 111 high school students (68 males; age range 13-19years) classified as obese and 111 age-, sex- and social status-homogeneous normal weight controls were included in the current study. All participants were asked to fill out self-report measures of parental behavior as perceived by the offspring, eating disturbance attitudes and behaviors, self-esteem, perfectionism and shame. Results: Significant differences between the two groups in relation to dysfunctional eating behaviors emerged. Body shame had the strongest relationship to eating problems vulnerability and acted as a mediator in the relationship between low self-esteem and eating disorder risk among both obese and non-obese youngsters. Conclusions: These findings further our understanding of a potential underlying mechanism for eating pathology development in youngsters in general and in obese adolescents in particular, which is of great importance in terms of prevention and treatment.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2016 · Eating behaviors
    • "This sample is reflective of many women who are overweight in the United States who are already motivated and trying to enact healthy weight control behaviors. This is a particularly important segment of the population on which to focus with respect to reducing internalized weight bias and body dissatisfaction, as these aspects of poor BA can undermine these healthy efforts (Schvey, et al. 2011; Vartanian and Smyth 2013; Puhl, et al. 2007) or cause eating disorders (e.g., Phelps, et al. 1999; Polivy and Herman 2002; Sonneville, et al. 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aspects of poor body acceptance (BA), such as internalized weight bias and dissatisfaction with one's shape and size, are the strongest predictors of disordered eating and are associated with reduced engagement in healthy behaviors. Perceiving oneself as having a family history of overweight (PFH) could boost BA by increasing attributions for inherited, biological causes of weight. A community sample of 289 women who were overweight from the Washington, DC metropolitan area who were dissatisfied with their current weight (68% Black; 32% White) enrolled in in this study in 2012. PFH of overweight was associated with decreased internalized weight bias among white women and marginally increased body shape satisfaction generally. The relationship between PFH and BA was not explained by biological attributions for weight. Perceptions that overweight runs in one's family can be protective with respect to BA. This is suggestive of the potential benefit of integrating family-based approaches into weight management interventions.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2016 · Women & Health
Show more