+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Research Review: What we have learned about the causes of eating disorders - a synthesis of sociocultural, psychological, and biological research



Research Review: What we have learned about the causes of eating disorders - a synthesis of sociocultural, psychological, and biological research



Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 56(11): 1141-1164



Eating disorders are severe psychiatric disorders with a complex etiology involving transactions among sociocultural, psychological, and biological influences. Most research and reviews, however, focus on only one level of analysis. To address this gap, we provide a qualitative review and summary using an integrative biopsychosocial approach. We selected variables for which there were available data using integrative methodologies (e.g., twin studies, gene-environment interactions) and/or data at the biological and behavioral level (e.g., neuroimaging). Factors that met these inclusion criteria were idealization of thinness, negative emotionality, perfectionism, negative urgency, inhibitory control, cognitive inflexibility, serotonin, dopamine, ovarian hormones. Literature searches were conducted using PubMed. Variables were classified as risk factors or correlates of eating disorder diagnoses and disordered eating symptoms using Kraemer et al.'s (1997) criteria. Sociocultural idealization of thinness variables (media exposure, pressures for thinness, thin-ideal internalization, thinness expectancies) and personality traits (negative emotionality, perfectionism, negative urgency) attained 'risk status' for eating disorders and/or disordered eating symptoms. Other factors were identified as correlates of eating pathology or were not classified given limited data. Effect sizes for risk factors and correlates were generally small-to-moderate in magnitude. Multiple biopsychosocial influences are implicated in eating disorders and/or disordered eating symptoms and several can now be considered established risk factors. Data suggest that psychological and environmental factors interact with and influence the expression of genetic risk to cause eating pathology. Additional studies that examine risk variables across multiple levels of analysis and that consider specific transactional processes amongst variables are needed to further elucidate the intersection of sociocultural, psychological, and biological influences on eating disorders.

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 058749630

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26095891

DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12441


Related references

Biological, psychological, and sociocultural correlates of body change strategies and eating problems in adolescent boys and girls. Eating Behaviors 6(1): 11-22, 2005

Prevalence and psychological, sociocultural and biological characteristics of children with insufficient scholastic achievement. II: Biological and sociocultural aspects. Revista Chilena de Pediatria 52(2): 155-163, 1981

Recent advances in the field of electronarcosis. II. Experimental research; biological data; biochemical & electroencephalographic research & research on higher nervous activity; clinical experience (in psychiatric disorders; in extrapsychiatric disorders); problems & prospects. Minerva Medica 49(95): 4397-4405, 1958

A review of eating disorders research in Mexico. International Journal of Psychology 42(1): 59-68, 2007

Eating disorders: a review of recent research. Digestive Diseases 4(1): 13-25, 1986

The EAT speaks many languages: review of the use of the EAT in eating disorders research. Eating and Weight Disorders 2(4): 174-181, 1997

Attachment and eating disorders: a review of current research. International Journal of Eating Disorders 47(7): 710-717, 2014

Attachment research and eating disorders: a review of the literature. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 14(4): 559-574, 2009

Research on energy expenditure in individuals with eating disorders: a review. International Journal of Eating Disorders 32(2): 127-134, 2002

Prevention of eating disorders: a review of outcome evaluation research. Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences 42(3): 172-177, 2005

Multilateral and interdisciplinary research on children and adolescents to optimize factors influencing the development of behavior. III. Results of biomedical, psychological and sociocultural studies on the children and adolescents included in the research. Revista Medico-Chirurgicala a Societatii de Medici Si Naturalisti Din Iasi 88(1): 41-46, 1984

What Hansen's disease research learned from tuberculosis research: from molecular biological aspect. Nihon Hansenbyo Gakkai Zasshi 83(3): 21-27, 2014

Biological and psychological interventions: trends in substance use disorders intervention research. Addictive Behaviors 35(12): 1083-1088, 2010

Psychosocial and pharmacological treatment of eating disorders: a review of research findings. Journal of Clinical Psychology 55(6): 685-697, 1999

Validation and predictive utility of the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire for Eating Disorders (SATAQ-ED): internalization of sociocultural ideals predicts weight gain. Body Image 5(3): 279-290, 2008