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Title: An exploration of factors pertinent to the development and maintenance of disordered eating
Author: Clarke, Sally Louise
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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A broad spectrum of disordered eating is recognised , from body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating at a sub-clinical level, to severe and chronic eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa (AN). Many factors are implicated in the development and maintenance of disordered eating. The first paper is a systematic review of 25 studies evaluating the impact of appearance-related peer experiences on body image and disordered eating in children and adolescents. The review found relatively strong evidence suggesting that exposure to several appearance-related peer experiences, including appearance conversations, peer body dissatisfaction and pressure to change one's appearance from peers, is associated with body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating in children and adolescents. The impact of appearance-related peer factors should be addressed in clinical settings, and targeted prevention programmes are indicated. The second paper reports a qualitative study investigating compulsive exercise as an important and under-researched feature of AN. The study used modified grounded theory methodology to investigate the role of compulsive exercise in AN. Ten women with AN or eating disorder not otherwise specified-AN type were interviewed. A theoretical model was developed, which suggests that individuals vulnerable to compulsive exercise move through a process in which exercise becomes engrained and integrally linked to dietary restriction, leading to exercise feeling inescapable and developing a central role in their eating disorder. The initial role for compulsive exercise seems to be managing body weight and shape, however later roles include affect regulation, modifying a negative self-view, and feeling in control. The study findings offer a developmental explanation of compulsive exercise in AN, and provide rich information about the felt experience of compulsive exercise, and the complex relationship between exercise and dietary restriction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available