A review of the evolutionary explanation of anorexia

A range of factors within the environment of western developed countries present conditions that heighten female intrasexual competition for high quality long-term mates. These include the fact that they are most common in females, there is a similarity in their core psychopathology disturbed body image and the striving for thinnessthey are thought to have arisen relatively recently, have all increased in prevalence over recent years and they are thought to have an almost identical geographical distribution.

Acta Psychiatrica Belgica, 91 1 But whereas food scarcity may have been the original catalyst for anorexia—which kicks in when genetically susceptible people lose 15 percent of their normal body weight through lack of food—intentional dieting related to societal fear of being fat is most often the cause in modern cases, Guisinger says.

It is argued that during the Pleistocene most women of reproductive age were either pregnant or lactating and therefore temporarily infertile. They, too, demonstrated distorted body images, hyperactivity and food refusal. New Ideas in Psychology, 13, Predictions based on the present model: Such a view would be consistent with the present hypothesis which would contend that the early onset form of eating disorder is a specific disorder of female sexual development which results in the disruption of mate attraction strategy.

One consequence of this may have been a decline in confidence in paternity and a probable reduction in the availability of male parental investment. Naturally, higher status individuals hold more social attention in their group and feel more in control.

Psychological Review, 2 The Long Reach of the Gene. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 68, It is suggested that it would be impossible to have a proper understanding of the dysfunction of any given biological system until the normal functioning of such a system i.

Of course the ancestral environment was never a single entity and constituted a multitude of environments each with its own distinctive characteristics. The model does not predict in any detail the proximate causal factors that lead an individual female to develop an eating disorder.

The present day large city in industrialised countries provides both a physical and social environment far removed from the ancestral environment of the Pleistocene and human psychological adaptations that evolved ancestrally may not be currently adaptive.

It is suggested that the early onset eating disorders could be defined as those occurring either during or prior to the time of maximum female reproductive potential.

An evolutionary explanation for anorexia?

Reproductive Suppression Among Female Mammals: Therefore, according to the sexual competition hypothesis for eating disorders the reproductive suppression that occurs in anorexia nervosa is an incidental by-product of the maladaptive runaway intrasexual competition.

It is of interest that Burley had suggested somewhat speculatively that the concealment of ovulation in human females may have evolved to deceive the female herself about the timing of her own ovulation.

Quarterly Review of Biology, 58, The male subjects were aroused in decreasing order by group sex, lesbian and heterosexual films. A distinction has been suggested between early and late onset disorder. These factors may have contributed to the decreased stability of long-term mateships as shown by the dramatic increase in divorce rates in most of the Western world over the past few decades see Stone, The present hypothesis can also satisfactorily account for eating disorders having the most lopsided sex ratio known to psychiatry Gordon, It has been shown that male parental investment is positively related to paternity confidence in human marriage systems see van den Berghe, Social Science Information, 18, Clinical Psychology Review, 9, An evolutionary explanation for anorexia?

Original article reprinted from mint-body.com Modern anorexia may stem from an adaptation that helped ancient nomadic people find food, according to a recently proposed theory. BY KAREN KERSTING in an article published last year in Psychological Review (Vol.No.

4). Evolutionary Explanations of Anorexia Nervosa Adapted to flee Adapted to flee Evaluation Problems Evaluation of Reproductive Suppression Observations of anorexic puberty "Is reproduction stopped in times of poor reproductive success?".

Anorexia nervosa: an evolutionary puzzle Gatward, Nicholas Anorexia nervosa (AN) has proven difficult to explain and is especially so from an evolutionary perspective.

It is widespread, has probably existed for centuries and includes a genetic component but leads to starvation, infertility and sometimes death.

An evolutionary instinct that told members of migrating populations to move along when their food supply ran out may be a major contributor to modern anorexia nervosa, according to a new theory.

When food is scarce and starvation begins, most animals and people demonstrate intense hunger, low. Biological: Evolutionary explanations of anorexia A2 1. Evolutionary explanations relate to the adaptive nature of Anorexia Nervosa – (how they’ve helped the species survive) There are 2 Evolutionary theories: Reproductive ‘Adapted.

Therefore, according to the sexual competition hypothesis for eating disorders the reproductive suppression that occurs in anorexia nervosa is an incidental by-product of the maladaptive runaway intrasexual competition.

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A review of the evolutionary explanation of anorexia
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