The present research examined the etiology of bulimia nervosa from a psychodynamic perspective. The Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) and Bern Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) were used to compare bulimics and controls on a number of personality dimensions including drive for thinness, body shape dissatisfaction, interoceptive awareness (one's lack of confidence in identifying emotions or visceral sensations) and sex role identification. Using the appropriate scales on the EDI, it was hypothesized that bulimics would demonstrate a higher drive for thinness and more body dissatisfaction than controls and that they would possess poorer interoceptive awareness than controls. In agreement with the dynamic position, it was also believed that bulimics would identify more strongly with the traditional female role than controls and hence obtain a more "feminine" rating on the BSRI. The present data, consistent with expectations, revealed that bulimics have a higher drive for thinness, greater body dissatisfaction and poorer interoceptive awareness than controls. There is also support for the hypothesis by Bruch (1982) that bulimia is a result of the person's inability to differentiate between emotional tension and physical hunger. The present data indicate somewhat paradoxical results regarding sex role identification in that bulimics are much more polarized in their sex role identification than controls (classified more as masculine or feminine with few androgynous). This suggests that bulimia may in fact be a heterogenous disorder, comprised of those in whom it is a variant of anorexia nervosa and those in whom it is a distinct clinical entity. The author cautions that the present results are based on a rather small sample and recommends further research with larger samples.
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Blau, Burton I.
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences
Hryckowian, Michael John, "The etiology of bulimia nervosa from a psychodynamic socio-cultural perspective" (1988). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 4290.