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Eating Disorder Research Analysis

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    Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Traits in Adult Women With Eating Disorders: A Critical Analysis Student Name University Name Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Traits in Adult Women With Eating Disorders: A Research Analysis As most people know, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are two eating disorders in which a person deprives themselves of the nutrients in food by refusing to eat or purging after eating a substantial amount.

    What many do not know, however, is that both diseases may have a component that deals with the occurrence of obsessive-compulsive personality traits as children. In this research analysis, we’ll discuss the study regarding the connection between eating disorders in women and obsessive-compulsive personality traits exhibited as children. In addition, we will examine how the research relates to human needs including the topics covered in class. Lastly, we’ll go through whom the study in question could benefit and how as well as the questions I had after reading this study.

    Anorexia and bulimia nervosa are similar eating disorders, which have many environmental and hereditary factors that have the potential to contribute to the conditions. This study was conducted to examine the correlation between childhood obsessive-compulsive personality traits and future eating disorders in women. Childhood traits such as perfectionism, pre-occupation with orderliness, excessive doubt, and rigidity are reflected by obsessive-compulsive personalities.

    The initial hypothesis of the study was that childhood obsessive-compulsive personality traits are significant factors in whether or not future eating disorders develop. In addition, the more obsessive-compulsive traits a person has, the more likely that person will develop some sort of eating disorder in the future (Anderluh, Tchanturia, Rabe-Hesketh, & Treasure, 2003). The study conducted by Anderluh et al. (2003) consisted of 44 females with the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, 28 diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, and 28 healthy women to use as comparison subjects.

    The participants with eating disorders were recruited from a treatment facility in London while the healthy partakers were selected from two universities in the United Kingdom. The method used for the study was a case control design, which is an observational approach that allows researchers to examine and observe the subjects in a setting. Unlike a randomized control trial, a case control study doesn’t involve the subjects being exposed to different groups in a trial. There were four key components in the study that each had their own unique purpose.

    In addition to having their body mass recorded, the subjects were interviewed on 30 different occasions in respects to their past obsessive-compulsive behavior, completed a self-report inventory of OCD symptoms, and administered an adult reading test. After completion of the different sections, the study came to an end and the results were examined. As previously stated, there were four different components in the study including recording Body Mass Index (BMI), being interviewed about past obsessive-compulsive behavior, completing a self-report inventory of OCD symptoms as children, and finishing an adult reading test.

    First of all, there was a significant difference between the BMI of test subjects across the groups. The average BMI recorded for an anorexic was 15. 9, the average for a bulimic was 21. 6, and the average for the healthy comparison subjects was 22. 1. The results of the 30 interviews conducted on the subjects about their past obsessive-compulsive behavior showed some interesting trends. Nearly 67% (two-thirds) of patients with anorexia nervosa reported perfectionism and at least one other obsessive-compulsive personality trait as a child.

    The same subjects were also similar ages when their eating disorders developed and their body masses didn’t seem to differ very much. The self-report inventory didn’t seem to have an effect on the study since information was only available from 62% of the subjects across the groups. Finally, no significant differences were observed between the groups when it came to the adult reading test that was administered (Anderluh et al. 2003). Apparently, there were many aspects of this study that related to human needs including what we have studied in class.

    First off, the connection between eating disorders and previously experienced obsessive-compulsive personality traits has a direct connection with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy is all about reaching self-actualized and being the best a person can be. To achieve self-actualization, a person must meet all of his or her needs in the hierarchy including physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, and esteem needs. According to the lecture presented in class, “The self-actualizing person, although comfortable with himself, never stops striving” (Lechtenberg, 2013).

    Unfortunately, people who experience anorexia or bulimia nervosa rarely make it to self- actualization because they aren’t ever comfortable with themselves and their flaws, as depicted in the lecture. Often times, sufferers of these eating disorders are stuck either on the physiological or the esteem tiers of the pyramid due to their constant need for food and their overwhelming need to be content with themselves. It is because of these unfortunate facts that eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive behaviors have a lot to due with human needs.

    This study on eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive personality traits in women was a compelling one, indeed. It had a breakthrough on how people view eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia because now they know that the development of these diseases isn’t random. Many populations could be benefitted by this study. Kids with obsessive-compulsive personality traits could be more informed of their chances for developing an eating disorder and precautions could be taken to ensure that those kids are less likely to acquire anorexia or bulimia.

    Another group that could benefit from this research is the public in general. Many people are under the impression that illnesses such as anorexia or bulimia just develop for no reason at all besides self-esteem issues. If this research were apparent to the public then many people would have the opportunity to change their opinion on why people acquire eating disorders. It is my belief that the public would be better off knowing the facts of how eating disorders could possibly emerge.

    Finally, there are some questions that I had after analyzing the research article in question. First of all, I would like to know if more studies like this one have been conducted in other parts of the world and if their results are similar? In addition, I’m curious if other childhood factors could be precursors to developing anorexia or bulimia in adulthood. The factors I’m wondering about the most are child abuse in the family of origin and the eating habits learned by children.

    Lastly, after reading this study, I wanted to know what the demeanor of the women in the study was. More specifically, I wanted to know if there was a certain attitude associated with the women with anorexia or bulimia as opposed to the normal healthy subjects. It is true that this study contained many thought provoking ideas that many people, including myself, had never thought of. I believe that this study, if recreated in different areas of the world on more women, could tell us a lot about why eating disorders develop in adult women.

    Perhaps one day we could learn enough about the disorders to stop them completely and effect millions of women across the globe. References Anderluh, M. B. , Tchanturia, K. , Rabe-Hesketh, S. , & Treasure, J. (2003). Childhood obsessive-compulsive personality traits in adult women with eating disorders: Defining a broader eating disorder phenotype. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(2), 242-247. doi:http://dx. doi. org. er. lib. k-state. edu/10. 1176/appi. ajp. 160. 2. 242 Lechtenberg, M. (2013). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. GNHE Class. Lecture. January 28, 2013

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