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The Contribution of Social, Cultural, and Family Environment to the Development of Eating Disorders

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Analyse the extent to which the social, cultural and family environment may contribute to the development of eating disorders.

Eating disorders have been found through centuries of doctors records. Some as far back as the seventeenth century through Morton (1694) descriptions of the symptoms of eating disorders during this period in time. Despite this eating disorders were only formally known as a disorder until 1980 when it was published in the DSM and more recent editions have shown that there are two different forms of eating disorders which are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This assignment will discuss how social, cultural and family environment can contribute to the development of these eating disorders and why these factors greatly contribute to the development of these illnesses.
The DSM V criteria of anorexia nervosa are refusal to maintain body weight, intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, disturbance in the way in which one sees their true body weight or shape, or denial of the seriousness of weight loss. The criteria for bulimia nervosa are, according to the DSM V, recurrent episodes of binge eating, recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors to avoid weight again, a minimum average of two episodes of binge eating and two inappropriate compensatory behaviours a week, self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight. Davis and Neale (2001) discovered that anorexia nervosa usually begins in the early to late teens and is ten times more frequent in women than men.According to Stirling and Hellewell (1999) In the UK it is believed that the disorder affects up to 1 percent of adolescent girls. However, the Eating Disorders Association (2000) reviewed that there...


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...tween family members and the individual. Although some evidence suggests that individuals feel that they are not understood by their family members and also that their family do not understand why they took the measures they did to develop the disorder can aggravate the disorder. However, not enough evidence is provided to show whether the breakdown in communication was before, during or after the development of the eating disorder and therefore it is unclear whether the family environment can fully contribute to the development of an eating disorder.




Works Cited

Atkinson, R.L., Atkinson, R.C., Smith, E.E., Bem, D.J. (1990) Introduction to Psychology. 10th edition. HBJ.

Gross, R. (2001) Psychology the Science of Mind and Behaviour. 4th edition. Hodder & Stoughton.

Turner, L. (2003) Advanced Psychology: Atypical Behaviour.Hodder & Stoughton.





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