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The biological explanation of eating disorders is probably the most popular.

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(a) (i) The behavioural model says that abnormality is caused by faulty learning. Learning can include operant and classical conditioning, or imitation (social learning). For example, being bitten by a dog may classically condition anxiety to dogs and generalise to all dogs and cause a phobia. If you see a parent being very scared of dogs, you may also learn to be scared of them through social learning. (ii) The cognitive model says that abnormality is caused by irrational thoughts. For instance, Beck's Triad model explains depression by saying that depressed people have exaggerated negative thoughts about themselves, the world, and the future. These irrational thoughts are probably due to genetics and to early experience. ...read more.


MZ twins are genetically identical but DZ twins are only as alike as brothers and sisters. If a condition is genetic then both MZ twins should have it but not DZ twins. The agreement between the twins is called the concordance rate. Holland found that the concordance rate for MZ twins with anorexia was 55% but it was only 7% for DZ twins, showing evidence for anorexia being genetic. Kendell did a similar study with bulimia, and found a 23% concordance rate for MZ twins and 14% for DZ twins. This shows some genetic evidence for bulimia being genetic, but the difference between MZ and DZ twins is not as great as for anorexia. ...read more.


But not all girls exposed to the media develop eating disorders, so it might be a combination of genetic factors and media influences. Another problem for the biological approach is that girls with eating disorders often have other conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. This means that it is difficult to do research just on eating disorders. They are complicated conditions and probably involve many different explanations. The alternative media approach is linked in as effective commentary on biological models, and leads into the reference to combinations of explanations. The last couple of points are rather thrown in and not used particularly well, but are quite sophisticated and would earn AO2 marks. Overall, for roughly 15 minutes' work, this is an impressive attempt with a good balance between AO1 and AO2 skills. ...read more.

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