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Running Head: ANALYSIS OF EATING DISORDERS & RELATED REASERCH

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Psychology Disorder Analysis of Anorexia Nervosa & Bulimia AND A Critical Review of Evidence for a
Causal Link Between Media, Negative Body Image, and Disordered Eating in Females
Jenna Goldstrom
FRCC/ Polaris ELS
Yaromy, PSY102-644
Fall 2013

ANOREXIA & BULEMIA RESEARCH ARTICLE ANALYSIS
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Abstract

Some of the most controversial, culturally unique, and deadly psychological disorders, eating
disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia, E.D.O.N.S.) are becoming more prevalent and researched every
day. The DSM-TR-IV criteria for an eating disorder is particular to each, for anorexia a refusal to
maintain one’s body weight as well as delusions thereof, an intense fear of fat/weight gain, and in
bulimia, all of this, plus severe binging/purging habits, as well as uncontrollable binging
episodes. Reportedly, 20% of women aged 12-30 create suffering for themselves because of their
negative body image issues, often manifesting in eating disorders. I chose to research this
because of my hate for the “slender beauty ideal”. The articles I read focused on the causes of
eating disorders, rather than focusing on a specific one.

ANOREXIA & BULEMIA RESEARCH ARTICLE ANALYSIS
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Psychology Disorder Analysis of Anorexia Nervosa & Bulimia AND A Critical Review of
Evidence for a Causal Link Between Media, Negative Body Image, and Disordered Eating in
Females
Introduction summary of Research Articles
The first article I read, "Everybody Knows That Mass Media Are/Are Not [pick one] a Cause of
Eating Disorders": a Critical Review of Evidence for a Causal Link Between Media, Negative
Body Image, and Disordered Eating in Females was a really long one that was primarily relating
mass media as a correlation to Eating Disorders. It was an evaluation of a massive compilation of
information regarding eating disorders in populations where mass media is prevalent. Its purpose
was to evaluate just how media and eating disorders are correlated. The hypothesis stated that
they were definitely interacting with one another in direct ways, but they concluded noting that
while media is a definite causal factor involved in eating disorders, it’s not a direct correlation
(Levine & Murnen 2009). So they were right, but not precise.
Secondly, I read The other side of well being - what makes a young woman become an
anorectic? which focused on causes/correlations also, but more broad, and with a certain focus
on similar living and emotional conditions between women. They also mentioned some crucial
aspects regarding the possible recovery of someone suffering from an eating disorder, as it stated
early on that treatment for such a mental disorder is doubted. This was a research study that used
surveys in order to conduct its research and conclusion, I believe in Finland. Their main finds
included a series of risk factors, such as family issues, a perceived lack of control of their life,
and societal beauty standards (Savukoski, M. 2011).

ANOREXIA & BULEMIA RESEARCH ARTICLE ANALYSIS
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Methods and Research
I thought it was interesting that the article "Everybody Knows That Mass Media Are/Are Not
[pick one] a Cause of Eating Disorders": a Critical Review of Evidence for a Causal Link
Between Media, Negative Body Image, and Disordered Eating in Females wasn’t actually made
up of raw evidence, rather, was a highly in depth and philosophically explanatory summary of a
bunch of surveys and research. The paper was so long because of the resources, which roughly
took up half of the paper printed for it. It was made clear by the theorizing that internalization f
the sleder beauty ideal was the final key, and also tha media literacy classes greatly reduced the
chance of that being internalized (Levine & Murnen 2009).
Since the article The other side of well being - what makes a young woman become an
anorectic? was using actual research, their findings were more solid and self-sure. The Finnish
paper was taking findings from stories and surveys to do with eating disorders in young/ young
adault females. Since it was also mostly to do with causes and correlations, there was a lot
linking environmental factors, such as family issues, culture’s idea of beauty, and food
experiences, to eating disorders.
Discussion Summary
Both of the articles I read were highly modern and remained as unbiased as they could have.
Since they both had to do mainly with causes and correlations, I learned a lot about the factors
that can influence someone to be anorexic or bulimic. There was a huge point made that media
literacy reduced the internalization of the “slender ideal”, which is one of the main causal factors
explored (Levine, M.P., & Murnen, S.K. 2009). This was one of the main overall findings, as it’s
a huge breakthrough regarding our attitudes as modern people towards the media as well as

ANOREXIA & BULEMIA RESEARCH ARTICLE ANALYSIS
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eating disorders. And furthermore, the knowledge that what society says is right, we later apply
directly to ourselves back this in many powerful ways. Another theory was that a large cause of
eating disorders, especially in women, concluded that the modern beauty ideal is slimness, which
would naturally drive women everywhere to attempt to achieve this (Savukoski, M. 2011).
There were, however, criticism from the writers to themselves and future seekers of the truth.
While a lot was theorized and estimated correlation wise, there needed to be more work done
involving what’s related to what. More solid and strongly backed, as well as extensive, research
and tests need to be done in order to get down to the heart of the issues at hand. Even though the
claims and conclusions made were very right, as well as righteous, they weren’t backed by the
solid, cold, hard evidence needed. And as was seriously taken in the second article, learning
proving the very most direct causes is the only way to reduce their risk and also to treat the
ailing.

Reflection
I thought that the two articles I read were very explanatory and interesting. I was really opened up to the
deep down reasons as to why people may develop eating disorders, and how us as a culture has evolved to
create the conditions fit for the spawning of eating disorders. Since as early as the 20 th century there’s
been major attitudes about eating, and even some connections to the bible’s 7 sins to the vilification of fat
(Savukoski, M. 2011). Another huge takeaway for me was the internalization of societal beauty standards.
Psychologically, what we see in society, media, etc., we directly and automatically relate to ourselves.

ANOREXIA & BULEMIA RESEARCH ARTICLE ANALYSIS
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One step beyond that, internalizing those comparisons, seems to be the root key behind eating disorders;
however, it’s not a tested theory so it is listed as a causal factor (Levine, M.P., & Murnen, S.K. 2009). It’s
now very apparent to me that the world we’re living in now is a hotbed for self-loathing and serious
fixations regarding changing such delusions.
I’m really glad to have learned so extensively about this specific disorder. It’s one of the most angering
things on this planet to me in general, let alone how terrifying it is, as well as personal. I already sort of
hated society before studying this eating disorder like I have, and this really just made me hate a lot of
aspects of culture over a larger scale than just right now. I had no idea so many people died from eating
disorders, and I watched one almost die from one. This is another huge reason I’m so passionate about
this. My best friend in the whole wide world has an eating disorder. I watched him go from chubby to
twiggy in a year, and I’ll never forget how helpless I felt when he would incessantly badmouth his body,
shoplift diet pills, even when he picked up smoking cigarettes for the soul purpose of weight loss. He’s
actually been relapsing pretty badly this semester, which has been so hard for me; I can’t even imagine
how it must be for him.

References

1) American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental
disorders: (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890423349
2) Levine, M.P., & Murnen, S.K. (2009). "Everybody Knows That Mass Media Are/Are Not

ANOREXIA & BULEMIA RESEARCH ARTICLE ANALYSIS
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[pick one] a Cause of Eating Disorders": a Critical Review of Evidence for a Causal
Link Between Media, Negative Body Image, and Disordered Eating in Females. Journal
of Social and Clinical Pyschology, 28(1), 9-42.

3) Savukoski, M. (2011, December 1). The other side of well being - what makes a young
woman become an anorectic?. Savukoski, M. (2011, December 1). The other side of well being
- what makes a young woman become an anorectic?.
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