Posted by Deborah Pujoue on March 21, 2012
The abbreviated term “STD” may have a new meaning. Okay, while the term STD may have thrown you off a bit, let me explain what I mean. According to a new study, the eating disorder anorexia may be a “Socially Transmitted Disorder.” (A far cry from what we generally associate with the term STD).
While anorexia is generally considered a more prevalent disorder in European countries like France where “thin is in” and many of the residents are less than average as far as their weight goes, this new study conducted by researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) certainly gives you something to think about. The “economic analysis” of the eating disorder was conducted, with researchers taking information from almost 3,000 young women all across Europe. What they learned was that peer pressure is the most likely cause for conditions like anorexia because many women base their own ideas of how they look on what their peers had to say. The study also showed that anorexia symptoms were most likely to occur during the fall/winter season, which is when fashion week rolls around.
This research was conducted by LSE economist Dr. Joan Costa-Font and Professor Mireia Jofre-Bonet of City University, who said in an email to Reuters, “We found evidence that social pressure, through peer shape, is a determinant in explaining anorexia and a distorted self-perception of one’s own body.”
“The distorted self-perception of women with food disorders and the importance or the peer effects may prompt governments to take action to influence role models and compensate for social pressure on women driving the trade-off between ideal weight and health,” Costa-Font added.
This study will not be published until later on this year in the academic journal Economica.
This study reminds me of the “Am I Ugly” trend on YouTube that I mentioned in a previous article. You know, the one with the girls asking cruel commentators to validate them by telling them that they are pretty. If this study shows us anything, it is that we really need to find our self-worth from within, instead of from our contemporaries.