Eating Disorders: Social Factors

Eating disorders affect an estimated 5% of women and, although less common in men, are equally problematic across both genders. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, lists three types of eating disorders: (1) bulimia nervosa, (2) anorexia nervosa, and (3) binge eating disorder. All these eating disorders share a dysregulation of normal eating patterns and frequently concomitant distortions in body image.

No one cause or mediating factor has been identified in the development and maintenance of the disturbed patterns of eating, exercise, and interaction that characterize eating disorders. This discussion revolves around social factors in eating disorders, examining how cultural and societal norms, family environment, and peer influences influence eating disorders. In most cases, the research does not yet ...

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