What Causes Eating Disorder?

Psychological Factors that can Contribute to Eating Disorders

  • Low self esteem
  • Feelings of inadequacy or lack of control in life
  • Depression, anxiety, anger, or loneliness

Interpersonal Factors that can Contribute to Eating Disorders

  • Troubled family and personal relationships
  • Difficulty expressing emotions and feelings
  • History of being teased or ridiculed based on size or weight
  • History of physical sexual abuse

Social Factors that can Contribute to Eating Disorders

  • Cultural pressures that glorify and place value on “thinness”
  • Narrow definitions of beauty that include only specific body sizes
  • Cultural norms that value people based on physical appearance

Biological Factors that can Contribute to Eating Disorders

  • Research on biochemical or biological causes of eating disorders is ongoing.
  • Eating disorders often run in families. Research indicates there are significant genetic contributions to eating disorders.

1. Portions of this handout were reprinted with permission from National Eating Disorders Association "Treatment of Eating Disorders". www.NationalEatingDisorders.org Information and Referral Helpline: 800-931-2237