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What is the key question?

Is the influence of role models and celebrities something that causes anorexia nervosa?


What is anorexia?

An eating disorder which is characterised by extreme loss of weight and anxiety associated with weight gain.


List 4 clinical characteristics of anorexia.

1) Anxiety about gaining weight
2) Amenorrhea in females
3) Weight loss
4) Body image distortion - thinking they're still fat


Using 3 facts and statistics about anorexia nervosa, explain why this issue is important

- Over 1.6 million people in the UK suffer from anorexia and of those, 20% would die prematurely of their illness
- The healthcare to accommodate this ranges from £80-100 million which, as so many people are suffering, leads to a burden on the NHS
- So it needs to be sorted out by helping people


Using facts and figures, explain why we might expect the media to have an effect?

- Media is more common in industrialised societies (U, USA, etc) where being slim is promoted as the ideal body type
- From the age of 7 girls start reading magazines that portray this idealistic slim body type
- 95% of people own a TV and watch it for 3-4 hours a day where ads about slimming products can be shown regularly


Define the 'damaging paradox'.

Providing one extreme paired with access to the other contrasting extreme to create anxiety.


Briefly describe how the damaging paradox can relate to anorexia.

- The media promotes a low weight sculptured ideal body type
- At the same time the environment provides foods high in fat and calories, also promoting how good and cheap they are
- And so putting those two together, the media wants us to be big and small and the same time which creates anxiety


Give an example of how dieting programmes are advertised.

Magazine articles on how celebrities lost 'x' amount of pounds in 'x' amount of time.


In terms of role models, how could social learning theory explain anorexia nervosa?

People may idolise certain celebrities or other people who are thin that they can relate to and so would want to be like them, specifically the weight part.


Using 'ARRM', briefly explain how social learning theory can help us to explain anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.

A - Seeing celebrities getting praised for being skinny and how beautiful they look when thin
R - The media is always there and so people always see this content
R - With high self-eficacy and low self-esteem an individual would want to get the same praise and to be as skinny as the celebrity and so would stop eating
M - Through vicarious reinforcement of seeing the celebrities praised, and through external reinforcement of getting praised by other people in their life saying how much better they look, they keep up the motivation to continue


Briefly explain how operant conditioning could help us to understand anorexia and other eating disorders.

- Positive reinforcement for losing weight may include compliments on how skinny they look
- Punishment may also motivate someone if they are getting bullied about being overweight
- Negative reinforcement would then motivate someone to continue not eating as they want to avoid gaining any weight and being shamed again


How do weight loss companies make use of operant conditioning principles?

They reward you every time you lose a certain amount of weight to motivate you to keep losing it.


Using the acronym 'EACH', evaluate 2 supporting 'evidence' points.

P - Owen et al (2000)'s research supports
E - Found that the ideal body shape has become more thin over 30 years
E - This correlated with the rise in anorexia nervosa
P - Lai (2000)'s research supports
E - Found that the rate of anorexia increased for Chinese people as it became more westernised
E - Therefore showing that western culture promotes thinness


Using the acronym 'EACH', evaluate one opposing 'evidence' point.

P - Eysneck & Flannagan (2000)'s research rejects
E - Found that although all young women in the west are subjected to the media, only 3-4% of them develop EDs
E - Therefore there must be other factors involved


Using the acronym 'EACH', evaluate a 'how' point.

P - Owen et al and Lai's research is weak
E - They use correlational data (e.g. amount of Chinese people with anorexia correlated with how westernised the culture is)
E - Therefore they cannot infer cause and effect between the media and anorexia so there may be other factors involved


Are there any applications?

P - Yes
E - Findings show how thinner role models correlated with higher anorexia sufferers
E - Therefore the media can start to show other body types rather than focusing on just thin models to show people that there isn't one idealistic body type, large clothing brands are using plus size models to showcase their clothing as well


Using the acronym 'EACH', evaluate 2 'credibility' points.

P - Reductionist
E - Says that anorexia nervosa is down to the media
E - However there can be more than one factor involved as research suggests and so a more holistic view is needed
P - The psychodynamic approach offers an alternative explanation
E - It suggests that children don't want to move into the 'sexual adult' role where fatness can symbolise pregnancy
E - Therefore young girls starve themselves to maintain their child-like figure in order to avoid gaining weight that could be associated with pregnancy