Date of Award

5-1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

David M. Stein

Abstract

Anorexia nervosa is now being viewed as a multidimensional disorder in terms of predisposing factors such as genetics, biology, and environment. Results from twin studies suggest that part of a susceptibility to AN may lie in genetic factors (Holland et al., 1984, 1988; Treasure and Holland, 1991). However, the nature of a genetic contribution, if any, remains unclear. Neurochemical alterations have been found to be associated with AN, but it is difficult to assess what role these neurochemical changes play in the etiology of the disorder since they may precipitate, accompany, or follow weight loss (Fava et al., 1989). Abnormal family interactions (Humphrey et al., 1986; Kog and Vandereycken, 1989) and cultural practices of diet and exercise (Epling and Pierce, 1988) have also been implicated as contributing factors to AN. The cultural and familial models are deficient, however, in that they do not account for individual susceptibility (Treasure and Campbell, 1994). Further, issues of nature versus nurture have not been fully examined in family models. The lack of understanding in the exact nature and role of the contribution of these factors to the development of AN, and the further complex relationship among these factors present a problem for researchers in understanding the aetiology of the disorder.

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