The eating disorders

The behavioural model says that abnormality is caused by faulty learning. Learning can include operant and classical conditioning, or imitation (social learning). For example, being bitten by a dog may classically condition anxiety to dogs and generalise to all dogs and cause a phobia. If you see a parent being very scared of dogs, you may also learn to be scared of them through social learning. The cognitive model says that abnormality is caused by irrational thoughts.

For instance, Beck’s Triad model explains depression by saying that depressed people have exaggerated negative thoughts about themselves, the world, and the future. These irrational thoughts are probably due to genetics and to early experience. The ideal mental health definition of abnormality is limited by cultural relativism. Jahoda’s criteria for ideal mental health were devised in western individualistic societies, and some of them, such as autonomy and self-actualisation, would not apply in collectivist societies where groups are emphasised more than individuals.

In fact they would be frowned upon. Deviation from social norms is also limited by cultural relativism. Social norms are accepted patterns of behaviour in a particular society, and these obviously vary between societies. Hearing voices is seen as a sigThe biological explanation of eating disorders is probably the most popular. The best evidence for it comes from studies of MZ and DZ twins. MZ twins are genetically identical but DZ twins are only as alike as brothers and sisters.

If a condition is genetic then both MZ twins should have it but not DZ twins. The agreement between the twins is called the concordance rate. Holland found that the concordance rate for MZ twins with anorexia was 55% but it was only 7% for DZ twins, showing evidence for anorexia being genetic. Kendell did a similar study with bulimia, and found a 23% concordance rate for MZ twins and 14% for DZ twins. This shows some genetic evidence for bulimia being genetic, but the difference between MZ and DZ twins is not as great as for anorexia.

Also, in both studies the MZ concordance rate was much less than 100%, which it should be if eating disorders were completely genetic. Another part of the biological approach is damage to the hypothalamus in the brain. This causes eating disorders in rats but there is little research done on humans and eating disorders are so common that brain damage does not seem a very likely explanation. In fact a problem for the biological approach is that eating disorders have increased so much over the past twenty years, which cannot be explained by genetics.

A better explanation would be media influences. The ideal female shape in the media has been getting slimmer over the years, and girls are reinforced for losing weight. Also, in Fiji they didn’t have eating disorders until they were exposed to western TV, showing the influence of the media. But not all girls exposed to the media develop eating disorders, so it might be a combination of genetic factors and media influences. Another problem for the biological approach is that girls with eating disorders often have other conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.

This means that it is difficult to do research just on eating disorders. They are complicated conditions and probably involve many different explanations. The alternative media approach is linked in as effective commentary on biological models, and leads into the reference to combinations of explanations. The last couple of points are rather thrown in and not used particularly well, but are quite sophisticated and would earn AO2 marks. Overall, for roughly 15 minutes’ work, this is an impressive attempt with a good balance between AO1 and AO2 skills.

Over the years there has always been lots of debate over peoples figures and inevitably the eating disorders that follow from people trying to change their bodies into something more ‘preferable’, or at least different to what they are at …

Eating disorders arises due to poor eating habits. This is a condition that maybe caused by either eating too much or eating too little and leads to adverse emotional and physical effects. The importance of food has been acknowledged for …

The obesity issue in America has come to critical levels. Competitive eating or speed eating is an activity that causes one to consume large quantities of food in a short period of time. Most of these contents are4 typically less …

There has been a growing concern on the impacts of food disorder in modern times. The notion that it is mostly young women who suffer from eating disorders has made the young women to be affected more than any other …

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