Eating Disorders

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Eating Disorders

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Eating disorders contain a multifaceted, multidimensional group of more and more common illnesses. Over the past few years, the frequency of eating disorders has gradually risen among children, men, adolescent girls and even in elderly people. Even though there are numerous causes of eating disorders, but few of them are very common in all ages. Variables, symptoms and advanced theories given by different experts are also discussed to provide better idea about the increasing trouble of eating disorders. This study purely highlights the risk factors, causes, assessment, treatment and typology of eating disorders. In the end, strong conclusion supports the arguments of experts regarding eating disorders.


Writing this thesis has been very demanding, challenging and time-consuming, but also remarkable, informative and above all fun. Nevertheless, it feels great to have finally completed my bachelor's/master's thesis and I am now looking forward to a nice relaxing period for recovering. It has been both advantages and drawbacks with the limited amount of earlier research conducted within this area, even though I faced serious troubles but sometimes the advantages of this research luckily were in my favor and have made this research both challenging and interesting.

I would like to thank my supervisor -------, professor at -------University/College, who has been great in guiding my through this thesis, helping me through the difficulties I faced during the entire process and motivated me to work hard. Furthermore, I would like to thank all my friends, for their contributions by sharing their perceptions and opinions with me. Above all I would like to thank my family and teachers that provided me with valuable and constructive criticism.

Table of Contents




What are Eating Disorders?5

Prevalence of Eating Disorders7

Purpose of the study8

Research Questions8


Health Risks9

The Spectrum of Eating Behaviour10

Eating Disorders and Less Severe Eating Disturbances11

Adaptive Eating11

Assessment of Eating Behaviour12

Typology of Eating Disorders14

Internalisation of the Ultra-Thin Body17

Social Comparison and Interpersonal Attraction18

Direct Relationship between Media and Eating Disorders18

Causes of Eating Disorders20

Cultural Factors21

Family Factors22

Psychological Factors22

Genetic Factors23

Globalisation and Eating Disorders23

Health Implications24

Risk Factors25

Socio-cultural Variables25

Personal Variables27

Relational Variables27

Prediction of Eating Disorder Symptomatology28

Objectification Theory28

Dual Pathway Model29

Interaction Models30

Prevention and Treatment30

Prevention of Disordered Eating31

Treatment of Disordered Eating32



Chapter 1: Introduction

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders (EDs) are characterised by chronicity and relapse and are some of the most common psychiatric disorders faced by girls and women (Tylka 2004, 178-191). The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), the criteria for anorexia nervosa include emaciation (i.e., a body mass index = 17.5), an intense fear of becoming fat, disturbed perception of body shape, denial of the seriousness of low body weight, and for postmenarcheal women, the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles. Criteria for bulimia nervosa include uncontrollable binge eating followed by compensatory behaviour to prevent weight gain (e.g., vomiting, excessive exercise, misuse of laxatives, fasting), occurring at least twice a week for a minimum duration of 3 ...
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