Achieving success in Western society: bulimia as the ultimate effort
Carleton, Julia Magdalen Machara
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see documentBulimia has recently emerged as an increasing threat to the health of young women in Western society. Though thought by some to be primarily prompted by psychological and physiological instabilities, this research attempts to explore the association between bulimic symptoms and the external pressures to conform to accepted standards of excessive thinness. It is noted that the bulimia trend primarily appears among the population which is overwhelmingly targeted by messages promoting the ideals of success through excessive beauty and thinness. Therefore, this study explores the relationships among several variables: the level of pressure felt by young, achievement-oriented women to control their weight in order to accomplish their goals; the level of difficulty experienced in achieving weight control; and the presence of bulimic symptoms. The sample for this study was taken from five undergraduate sociology courses at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The research found that among women who held career, social, and family relationships to be of high priority, the pressure to be thin in order to succeed in these areas, along with the difficulty experienced by the respondent in achieving weight loss, was positively associated with the appearance of bulimic attitudes and behaviors. Analysis of responses of males in the study did not produce significant findings with regard to the relationships between bulimic symptoms, the pressure to lose weight to achieve goals, and the difficulty in controlling one's weight. This study concludes that the unrealistic expectations imposed on young women in Western culture regarding their bodily appearance, and the difficulty in adhering to these expectations, have a direct impact on the appearance of bulimia in young achievement-oriented women.
- Masters Theses