Feminist Explanations of the Development of Eating Disorders: Common Themes, Research Findings, and Methodology Issues

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Feminist approaches have recently been offered as eti‐ological explanations for the development and maintenance of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Specific hypotheses and postulates have varied across different theorists. An overview of the rationale for each of four identified theoretical explanations is provided, along with a discussion of empirical support and research issues. We conclude that feminist approaches offer the possibility of substantially adding to our knowledge of etiological factors for the development of eating disorders. We suggest that the area would benefit from the development of pertinent measurement indices and the utilization of longitudinal designs incorporating variables deemed important by feminist writers, but also including factors supported by other etiological frameworks, such as family systems, developmental, and cognitive‐behavioral approaches.

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Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, v. 3, issue 3, p. 183-202