Obesity and Anorexia Nervosa

  • Alan S. Bellack
  • Donald A. Williamson


Obesity and anorexia nervosa are two clinical disorders that result from a disturbance of normal energy regulation mechanisms. The regulation of energy is accomplished via a complex set of neurological and hormonal mechanisms (Ganong, 1975; Rodin, 1977). Technically, energy regulation can be affected by a large number of behavioral, biological, and environmental factors including energy intake and expenditure, body temperature, and climate. For humans, however, energy regulation is influenced primarily by the relative intake and expenditure of calories via eating and exercising (Ganong, 1975). Eating and exercising (or general activity level) are behaviors that to a great extent, are controlled by environmental and social factors. Clinical research studies of obesity and anorexia nervosa indicate that both of these disorders are directly caused by either excessive or inadequate eating and activity. In both cases the research suggests that these behaviors are strongly influenced by social situations and reinforcement contingencies. This chapter will discuss the nature of these two disorders and the types of interventions that have been used to modify them.


Anorexia Nervosa Behavior Therapy Behavioral Treatment Addictive Behavior Apply Behavior Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan S. Bellack
    • 1
  • Donald A. Williamson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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