For courses in Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Gender and Psychopathology, and Eating Disorders. In addition, Eating Disorders may be a useful supplemental text in courses within the following areas: Nursing, Nutrition, and Sports Medicine.
Eating Disorders presents a comprehensive and accessible investigation of eating disorders, including but not limited to anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. The text spans topics such as historical and cross-cultural trends in prevalence of eating pathology, biological bases of eating disorders, and treatment and prevention.
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Foreword author Pat Levitt, Ph.D., is the director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The question I have most often encountered is "What got you interested in eating disorders?" This is a challenging (although fair) question because there is no right answer. First, there is no one issue that got me interested in the topic. Instead, several factors converged to make it compelling to me, and it would take at least a chapter to answer the question adequately. Second, there are highly divergent views concerning who can speak authoritatively on the topic. Some people feel that only individuals who have personally suffered from eating disorders can truly understand their nature. Others feel that these individuals are unable to objectively differentiate aspects of their own experience from those of most individuals who have these disorders. I do not agree with either view. I believe that people who have not suffered from eating disorders are capable of understanding and appreciating their complexity. In addition, I believe that individuals who have suffered from these disorders have not, by definition, lost their ability to employ a scientific approach in examining these conditions. So, instead of attempting to answer the question of why I became interested in eating disorders, I will attempt to explain why I think you should be interested in them. After all, I have already chosen to specialize in this area, whereas you may be trying to discover what you feel passionate enough about to make a lifelong pursuit.
Eating disorders provide the perfect opportunity to examine the intersections of culture, mind, and body. To truly appreciate the causes and consequences of these disorders, one must be willing to consider topics that span the humanities (history, art, and literature), the social sciences (psychology, anthropology, women's studies, and economics), and the natural sciences (anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and genetics). As a consequence, there is truly something for everyone in the study of eating disorders. Few topics of inquiry allow individuals from so many different disciplines to make significant contributions.
Eating disorders are all around us. Almost anyone who picks up this book knows someone who has suffered from an eating disorder. Unlike other topics in academia, eating disorders are often part of our personal lives. Even individuals who are fortunate enough to have never personally had an eating disorder, or to have watched a loved one suffer from it, probably know someone who has.
Eating disorders are very topical. Many famous individuals have acknowledged the impact of these disorders on their lives. Thus, even people who do not personally know someone with an eating disorder have a sense of familiarity with the problem. This topicality has two aspects. First, people probably know more about eating disorders than about many other subjects that might be covered by a textbook. Second, they probably have far more misinformation about eating disorders than they do about other textbook topics. Thus, eating disorders can be both familiar and challenging (rather than familiar and boring or challenging and intimidating).
Eating disorders is a young field. Sections of this book were difficult to write because there is a still much that we simply do not know about these disorders. However, this limitation represents an opportunity. Because there is so much left to learn, there are many ways that people can make a significant contribution to the knowledge base of these disorders. In this new field, young people have completed many fascinating and illuminating studies. This book includes many studies conducted by college undergraduates because of the important conclusions that can be drawn from them.
Like most textbooks on psychopathology, this one uses case studies to help bring eating disorders to life. Moreover, eating disorders never exist in a vacuum. They occur in the context of an individual's life. In order to balance the competing demands of breadth and depth, three case studies are followed throughout the book so that the topics of different chapters are integrated into the lives of these individuals. Instead of presenting 25 different cases briefly, each chapter provides further insight into the three case studies. For this reason, it is best if the chapters are covered in the order in which they occur. Evefi for individuals who are intimately familiar with the definitions of eating disorders, it would be worthwhile to read Chapter 1 first because this is where I introduce the cases that will guide you throughout the text. Similarly, even if the final chapter is not part of the assigned reading due to the time constraints that are always present in any course, it is still worth reading to learn more about how things turn out for the individuals introduced in Chapter 1.
FEATURES FOR STUDENTS
Terms that may be new to students are defined within chapters and are included in a glossary at the end of the book. Glossary terms are presented in boldface type the first time they appear in text and are listed at the end of the first chapter in which they appear. Italic type is used for other key terms to draw students' attention to important topics within chapters. Tables and figures are also included as study aids. Figures reinforce the information described in the text. In contrast, tables often provide additional information. Thus, figures are illustrative, and tables provide concise reviews of information not presented elsewhere. Each chapter includes a brief conclusion. These conclusions are not intended to serve as an abstract for the full chapter. Instead, they provide an empirically supported conclusion regarding the topic covered in the chapter when such conclusions are possible.
This book includes a chapter devoted to research methodology (Chapter 4), with examples from studies of eating disorders. This chapter is designed for students who have not completed prior coursework on research methods so that they can critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of conclusions that may be drawn from the empirical literature. The chapter also may serve as a refresher for students in advanced psychology courses who have already completed coursework on research methods.
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