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Title: Early experiences and risk factors for eating disorders
Author: Greer, Sarah C.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Eating disorders (EDs) are thought to have a complex, multifactorial aetiology involving bio- psycho-social risk and maintenance factors. It is well-known that obtaining successful outcomes for these disorders can be difficult. Improving our understanding of risk factors may help to improve such outcomes by facilitating the early identification and treatment of EDs. There is a large literature base investigating the role of early family experiences (EFEs) for children and adolescents in the development of EDs. The first paper presents a review of the different types of EFEs that are thought to be involved in the development of disordered eating and potentially diagnosable EDs in later years. Twenty-one studies were identified and reviewed. The results provided strong support for the role of direct, indirect and systemic EFEs in the development of disordered eating, and indicated that adverse family interactions are the most frequently assessed type of EFE. It is recommended that future research should focus on longitudinal studies with control groups and include measures of negative beliefs unrelated to eating, weight and shape. The second paper sought to measure EO self- schemas with content unrelated to eating, weight and shape using a self-schema processing task, and reaction times to content related to eating, weight and shape using the emotional Stroop task. Healthy female volunteers were recruited and divided into dieting (n=25) and non-dieting groups (n=24). Dieters endorsed significantly more EO relevant words compared to non-dieters, whereas non-dieters rejected significantly more EO relevant words compared to dieters. Reaction times to endorsements and rejections were non-significant. In a surprise recall task, dieters recalled significantly more EO relevant words. Contrary to expectations, no significant differences were found for the Stroop task. The results of this study support the presence of EO self-schemas with negative content unrelated to eating, weight and shape in healthy dieters, and implications for future research and the early identification of vulnerable individuals are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available