Psychological Features of Women with Deviating Body Mass Index and Eating Disorders

Author Name(s): Natal'ya G. Bazenova, Oksana V. Tokar, Elena Yu. Shpakovskaya, Elena M. Razumova, Ekaterina E. Ruslyakova, Oksana P. Chernykh
Author Email: sqvorez@mail.ru

Abstract

They consider psychological features of women with a deviating body mass index and eating disorders: emotional, restrictive and external. They use psychodiagnostic and statistical methods of research. It is shown that the respondents with a deviating body mass index have different types of eating behavior and their mixed variants; their eating behavior is characterized by an excessive desire for leanness, binge eating, the dissatisfaction with one’s own body, perfectionism and interoceptive incompetence. They determine the psychological features of women with eating disorders: a high level of neuroticism, the non-acceptance of the corporal self-image, the sensitivity to the assessments of others in relation to appearance, the prevalence of irrational catastrophization and self-esteem attitudes, low frustration tolerance; the severity of psychological defenses in the form of negation, regression, compensation, substitution, and reactive developments. They showed the effect of identified psychological special features of women with a deviating body mass index on their eating behavior.

Keywords Food Behavior, Eating Disorders, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, Body Mass Index, Emotional Type of Eating Behavior, Restrictive Type of Eating Behavior, External Type of Eating Behavior, Psychological Defenses, Irrational Attitudes, Body Image

Introduction

The last decades are characterized by the increase of people with eating disorders and, as the consequence, the deviations in body mass index. On the one hand, the era of the “consumer society” gave birth to the problem of obesity (which means diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders), which is now becoming a real epidemic. On the other hand, mass culture forms the cult of a lean body, elegant bodily aesthetics, the correctness of dietary nutrition, which dictates the appropriate style of eating behavior and anorexia and cachexia are its extreme results among the population (and especially among its young part). This publication discusses some of the psychological characteristics that are characteristic of women with a deviating body mass index (hereinafter-BMI) who have different types of eating behavior.

 

Conclusion

Nutritional behavior of respondents with deviant BMI is characterized by excessive desire for leanness, binge eating, the dissatisfaction with one’s own body, personal inefficiency, perfectionism and interoceptive incompetence. They are characterized by a high level of neuroticism, the non-acceptance of the personal body image, the sensitivity to the assessments of others in relation to appearance, the prevalence of irrational catastrophic attitudes, personal obligations and obligations in relation to others, and low frustration tolerance. These respondents have a pronounced psychological defenses of denial, regression, compensation, substitution, and reactive formations. The respondents with an elevated BMI and eating disorders are characterized by the prevalence of bulimic seizures, interoceptive incompetence and compulsion towards others; they often use regression as a psychological defense. The respondents with reduced BMI and eating disorders are characterized by personal inefficiency and selfindulgence. These psychological characteristics are the determinants of eating disorders. All types are affected by a high level of neuroticism, psychological defense of negation, irrational settings of catastrophization and low frustration tolerance without an exception. At the same time, emotionogenic PP is also affected by compensation and substitution, selfacceptance of body image and irrational attitudes towards oneself and others. Restrictive PP – compensation and substitution, as well as the sensitivity to the influence of others in relation to the personal body image and an irrational setting to personal obligations. In respect of external PP: regression and irrational attitude of duty in relation to others. The revealed tendencies allowed to outline the targets of psychotherapeutic influence: irrational attitudes; psychoemotional stress; the acceptance of personal body image; psychological protection.

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