The Corelation between Eating Disorders and Social Desirability Bias

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Due to the social norms prevalent in the society people may negatively view some attributes such as alcohol addiction, drug abuse, drunken driving whereas positively view attributes like regular churchgoing, voting in elections. These societal norms may cause conformation since individuals will tend to present themselves in a favourable manner irrespective of their true feelings or actual behaviour. Individuals may under-report those activities which are socially or culturally undesirable and over-report those activities which are socially or culturally desirable. (Ganster, Hennessey and Luthans, 1983). Recent research has shown strong correlation between eating disorders and social desirability bias. A study by James R. Hebert and his colleagues not only illustrates the importance of social desirability bias in dietary intake but also looks at it from a scientific standpoint. Mass media plays an important role in shaping the lives of the people from creating awareness to help in developing a better standard of living. However an attempt to create a better life style or a good standard of living may not always be received positively by the masses. For example: Viewing health related programmes on television or reading articles in a magazine may create a negative schema about oneself followed by a desire to look in a way that is well accepted by the society which may be accompanied by decreased food intake thus leading to an unhealthy lifestyle. A study by James R Hebert

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