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Psychology Assignment: - Research Paper Example

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Using Self-Concept to Explain Feelings of Hunger in Women with Eating Disorders Your Name Your College/University Using Self-Concept to Explain Feelings of Hunger in Women with Eating Disorders One area of increasing importance in psychology (particularly, in abnormal psychology) is the study of eating disorders among women…
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Download file to see previous pages Eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, lie at the extreme end of a negative body image and are often brought on by the insatiable attempt at achieving an elusive perfect weight. Although these eating disorders will never be “cured”, they can be prevented with the proper psychiatric intervention. However, the nature of this intervention is still unknown to psychologists. Starting at a more basic level of analysis (the psychological causes of hunger), a new approach may arise for an analysis of the psychological causes for image-related eating disorders. In a study of abnormal eating attitudes and self-image concepts among two different samples female college students, Greenleaf and McGreer (2006) found that self-objectification was a strong predictor of disordered (or abnormal) eating attitudes among both physically active and sedentary female college students. These groups exhibited self-objectification via a variety of measures, most commonly through body shame (low self-image) and appearance anxiety, as rated on the Body Surveillance and Body Shame subscales of the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale. Not surprisingly, women who rated high in self-objectification reported, on average, higher rates of body surveillance, body shame, appearance anxiety, and eating disordered behavior. Body surveillance and eating disordered behavior were the two most correlated variables in the study. Both body shame and appearance anxiety served as legitimate causes of eating disorders, which suggests that possible psychiatric interventions to disordered eating may be taken upon finding a woman with that psychological profile. As the authors note, “Objectification theory provides a useful framework for understanding factors related to disordered-eating attitudes” (Greenleaf & McGreer, 2006, p. 187). Objectification theory is the thought that, in Western society, girls and women’s bodies are sexually objectified for the use and pleasure of others. Taken in relation to eating and hunger, the purpose of eating under this framework is not perceived to be as a means toward sustenance, but rather a means toward an undesirable, fat body and thus is something to be avoided. This study is interesting insofar as it found that body surveillance was associated with women who had high rates of self-objectification but not for women who had low rates of self-objectification. Accordingly, it is not a stretch to postulate that body surveillance may serve as a cause of hunger or satiation in women with high rates of self-objectification. That is, for a woman who sees her body as a tool for the pleasure of others, her hunger may be expressed as a function not of a feeling in her body telling her that food is necessary, but rather a function of other people’s perceptions of that body. In another study of female collegians, Hinton and Kubas (2005) discovered that “five distinct and internally consistent factors” retained positive correlation with disordered eating behaviors in female athlete samples. These results were found based on the ATHLETE questionnaire, which assists in helping assess factors associated with disordered eating in athletes. The authors found that “Drive for Thinness and Performance, Social Pressure on Eating, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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