• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

increase in the incidence of anorexia nervosa is a direct result of the social pressures on young girls to be thin'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Abnormality Assignment (a) Give two criticisms of the 'deviation from social norms' definition of psychological abnormality. Deviation from social norms does not always indicate psychological abnormality. We tend to make judgements about whether behaviours that deviate from the norm are merely eccentric of whether they are abnormal in a pathological sense. Running naked across a rugby pitch, or taking part in a marathon dressed as a giant rabbit may be regarded as strange or idiosyncratic, but we would not necessarily assume that the person is mentally disturbed. However, if someone is walking down the street talking out loud to an invisible person, or if someone insists Martians have taken over their brain, then we would be more likely to suspect a mental disorder. Thus, only particular kinds of 'abnormal' behaviour tend to be regarded as pathological. Another criticism of the 'deviation from social norms' definition of psychological abnormality is that it implies that the task of a psychotherapist would be to ensure that people conform to social norms, no matter what they are, rather than using treatment as a means of improving the well being of the individual and the group to which he or she belongs. Szaszs argues that societies use the concept of mental illness to control and change people who unusual patterns of functioning threaten the social order. ...read more.

Middle

(c) 'The rapid increase in the incidence of anorexia nervosa is a direct result of the social pressures on young girls to be thin' In the light of the above quotation, critically evaluate explanations for the causes of anorexia nervosa. Biological explanations of eating disorders fall into two categories, genetic inheritance, and biochemical dysfunction of neurotransmitters in the brain. Genetic science has been unable to identify genes for specific behaviours, such as those associated with eating disorders. Research is based, therefore, on examining whether a particular disorder runs in families. The American Psychiatric Association reports that there is an increased risk of eating disorders among first-degree biological relatives of those diagnosed, with a number of studies showing a much higher prevalence rate than in the general population. However, since relatives usually share the same environment, this does not necessarily support a genetic cause, as the behaviour may have been learned from other family members. Twin studies provide more reliable evidence. The nature of this research is to compare monozygotic twins with dizgotic twins. MZ twins have identical genes, whereas DZ twins are no more alike genetically than any other siblings. Therefore, environmental factors could be largely eliminated if a significantly higher concordance rate were found among MZ twins compared with DZ twins. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus agreeing with classical conditioning that thin is associated with positive reinforcement and being of normal weight or more is associated with negative feelings of unattractiveness and lack of self control. The pressures of models and famous women who are classed as 'slim' have important influence on young girls. This can be seen in the differential rates of eating disorders amongst certain cultures and professions. Anorexia nervosa is very prevalent among models and dancers, especially ballet dancers. Not only are there pressures from the culture but from certain families. Several studies indicate that anorexia is common in the daughters of parents who, from a time when the children are young, put great emphasise on thinness, physical appearance and dieting. The learning theory view also holds that it is not just social pressures on young girls that cause anorexia nervosa. The theory holds that anorexia is a phobia, which had arisen as all phobias do - as a result of learning. The specific phobia in this case is the fear of being fat and the fear of being out of control of your life. Anorexics are typically desperately fearful of eating in case they loose control and eat more than they should. To conclude, we can see how social pressures can be the cause of girls developing anorexia nervosa, but we can also see other factors that contribute, so it cannot be defined as the sole cause. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Healthcare section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Healthcare essays

  1. Physiological Disorders

    GP coordinates patient care process. G.P prescribes medicines for patient in order to prevent the disorder getting worse or to reduce any other side effects of disease which patient experiences. Without support and advice of G.P Patient could suffer in private. She wouldn't be diagnosed properly and has to rely on her self.

  2. human inheritance

    Parental health: P3: Describe the structures of chromosomes and their role in production A chromosome is a long strand of DNA, packaged jointly with proteins and other kinds of molecules. Each chromosome has a centromere, which plays a vital role during cell division and also divides each chromosome into a short arm and a long arm.

  1. Complementary Therapies

    Before the industrial revolution, few people were expected to move far from their place of birth. Members of their extended families would have provided the sense of safety and support that the modern counsellor now does. Priests, rectors, rabbis, church elders, shamans and wise women would have been able to offer this guidance outside of the family.

  2. Physiological disorder

    and in many cases some body organs can become provided of oxygen for a short period of time and this will affect the heart and brain. Mild cerebral hypoxia is known as a diffuse cerebral hypoxia, this can cause confusion to an individual but the effects are reversible In many

  1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Family Interventions for Psychosis.

    Family intervention by Kuipers, Leff & Lam (1992) includes assessing the relative and their family, engaging the family, education about schizophrenia, improving communication, identification of stressors, setting realistic goals, dealing with emotional issues (e.g. anger, conflict, rejection), dealing with overinvolvement, getting everyone in the family involved, employment, cultural issues, special issues (e.g.

  2. Critically evaluate research into eating disorders - Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.

    concordance rate between MZ twins and only an 8.7% concordance rate between DZ twins, even though there is a considerably higher concordance rate amongst MZ twins then DZ twins there are still a high proportion of discordant MZ twins 45% in Holland et al's studies and a massive 77% discordant in Kendler et al's study of Bulimic sufferers.

  1. Abnormal Psychology - Bipolar Disorder

    One theory for this is that in controlling the mania, lithium helps prevent the swing into depression. Despite its long history, researchers are still unclear how lithium works. Studies have found that lithium has a range of effects in the brain; it raises (and lowers)

  2. A Case for Electro-Convulsive Therapy: The Never Ending Contraversy

    The purpose of this article is to provide basic information on ECT to mental health counselors for use in developing and providing more effective services to clients considering, receiving, or completing a course of ECT. Applications When ECT was developed it was often given without adequate sedation beforehand and without the use of muscle relaxants to prevent violent seizures.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work