Women and Eating Disorders

  • Melinda Gellman


It is unfortunate that a contemporary volume on female psychology is incomplete without addressing eating disorders. In recent decades, the incidence of anorexia nervosa and bulimia has increased disproportionately among women in Western cultures. Estimates of prevalence range from 2% of young women at a family planning clinic (Cooper & Fairburn, 1983) to 7.8% (Pyle, Mitchell, Eckert, Halvorson, Neuman, & Goff, 1983) and 19% (Halmi, Falk, & Schwartz, 1981) of normal female college populations. It has been repeatedly observed that eating disorders predominantly affect Caucasian women from upper socioeconomic classes (Bemis, 1978; Bruch, 1973; Crisp, Palmer, & Kalucy, 1976). There is evidence suggesting, however, that eating disorders are not limited to this racial and social sector (Garfinkel & Garner, 1982). This chapter discusses eating disorders, the context of their rising incidence, and issues in female development pertinent to eating disorders in women.


Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Binge Eating Bulimia Nervosa Developmental Deficit 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melinda Gellman
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Eating DisordersFifth Avenue Center for Counseling and PsychotherapyBrooklynUSA

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