Presentation on theme: "The Learning Approach’s explanation for anorexia Keep in mind that 90% of cases are female between 13-18 years Rarely begins before puberty DSM-IV states."— Presentation transcript:
The Learning Approach’s explanation for anorexia Keep in mind that 90% of cases are female between 13-18 years Rarely begins before puberty DSM-IV states it occurs in 0.5-1% of females in adolescence and early adulthood
Behavioural Explanations - Learning approach learn People learn how to be anorexic It could have developed due to rewards from the environment. Individuals are rewarded for becoming slim and losing weight as in today’s Western society models and pop stars are mostly very slim
Classical conditioning Classical conditioning: An association between thinness and admiration is learned. Step 1Slimness starts out as a neutral stimulus But then you learn to associate slimness with admiration. Therefore slimness = admiration
Fear of gaining weight can be explained through classical conditioning The fear of gaining weight is paired with eating and a classically conditioned anxiety response develops Next time the person has food they will feel anxious and in order to reduce the anxiety they will avoid eating
Stimulus response Slimming becomes a habit via a stimulus response mechanism. The individual learns to associate thinness (stimulus) with admiration and feeling good about themselves (response)
Operant conditioning Continuing admiration is reinforcing; more weight loss, more admiration. Extreme weight loss gets attention and concern which is also rewarding. Avoiding food also gets attention Punishing parents (they worry)can also be rewarding. Also negative reinforcement – avoiding food now the feared stimulus.
Social Learning Theory We learn what behaviours are successful (being thin), and may imitate this behaviour under appropriate conditions. E.g. in adolescence Supported by the study by Becker (1999) on Bulimia. Introduction of TV to Fiji increased bulimic behaviours.
Social Learning theory Vicarious reinforcement: the slimness ideal is learned through the media. “She is admired, so if I am like her I will be too”. She is a role model
The Behavioural approach (evaluation) Explains gender differences as females more influenced by media models Though the male thinness stereo- type is increasing as is anorexia in males
Go over ARRM (attention, retention, reproduction &motivation) to make sure you remember how SLT works. Think Bo Bo doll Bandura Sutherland’s differential association theory Anorexia can be learnt through association, consequences of action and imitation of role models
The Behavioural approach (evaluation) Explains cultural differences: anorexia is non- existent in China. Chinese have a cultural norm respecting food and, thinness is not valued. Sui-Wah (1989) anorexia is rare in black populations in the West and non-Western cultures Though Hoek et al.(1998) disagree – they examined 44,192 records of patients admitted to hospital over 2 years 1987-89 in Curacao where it is ok to be overweight. Found 6 cases of eating disorders. Doesn’t explain individual differences: exposure to thin models doesn’t necessarily lead to anorexia, nor does everyone who diets become anorexic.
Exam Question Explain why, according to the learning approach, people suffer from anorexia nervosa. (5 marks)