[The cultural context of eating disorders—own research]

Maciej W Pilecki, Barbara Józefik, Kinga Sałapa
Psychiatria Polska 2012, 46 (2): 189-200

AIM: To assess cultural attitudes and beliefs among (female) patients being treated for various kinds of eating disorders in comparison with (female) patients diagnosed with depression and healthy girls.

METHOD: Version II of the Cultural Questionnaire by M. Pilecki and B. Józefik referring to issues linked with those aspects of dulture whose importance is described as significant in the development of eating disorders.

MATERIAL: Data from patients with the following diagnoses were used in the statistical analyses: 54 (female) patients with a diagnosis of restrictive anorexia (ANR), 22 with a diagnosis of binge-purge anorexia (ANB), 36 with a diagnosis ofbulimia (BUL) and 40 with a diagnosis of depressive disorders (DEP) and also 74 female pupils from Kraków schools (KON).

RESULTS: Groups ANB and BUL obtained high scores, indicating the greater significance of 'ideals of thinness' in their lives than in groups KON, DEP and ANR. The BUL group was characterised by a sense of yielding to fashion pressure and also by a sense of the environmental and generational significance of the disorders in relation to groups KON and DEP. The females in group KON assessed that their parents attached greater importance to appearance than did (female) patients in group ANB. A negative evaluation of the position of women in the family was given by all the studied (female) patients in comparison with group KON.

CONCLUSIONS: The obtained results may indicate the greater significance of cultural mechanisms in bulimia than anorexia nervosa. They may also be an expression of the limited possibility of introspection of girls with a diagnosis of restrictive anorexia. A negative perception of femininity in the family and culture accompanies not only eating disorders, but also depressive disorders.

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