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Academic Article Critique

Brief Summary

Mediating Social Anxiety and Disordered Eating: The Role of Expressive Suppression” is an academic article that assesses how disordered eating is related to social anxiety and emotional suppression. The argument put across in the article is that social anxiety disorders (SAD) are responsible for about 20% of eating disorders that are reported. The article adds that SAD is also a major barrier to meaningful treatment for many patients with eating disorders. The reason behind this, according to the article, is that most of the patients suffering from SAD are afraid of possible negative evaluation. Therefore, the patients, who shy away from evaluation, tend to miss treatment for eating disorders. With SAD being responsible for a large percentage of cases of eating disorders and making patients refrain from evaluation, SAD is believed to pose a risk for eating disorder development and to create a barrier to meaningful treatment. This paper provides a critique to the above mentioned article. Also, it critiques the theoretical coherence of the article and strength of the arguments. In addition, the paper provides recommendations on how arguments should be improved in the future and any constructive comments.

The Theoretical Coherence of the Article

The article provides arguments on how social anxiety is related to eating disorders. In an effort to qualify the arguments, a great deal of information has been borrowed from other related studies. Therefore, different theories have been compiled to achieve the objective of communicating the intended point. However, the way the information has been presented does not communicate much. There is a lack of coherence because the arguments repeatedly point out that there exists a relationship between social anxiety and eating disorders but fails to show the main cause of the eating disorders. The arguments are also quite confusing because in some cases, the authors presented information that is slight contradictory. For instance, it is mentioned at some point that expressive suppression can control the relationship existing between SAD and eating disorders. On the other hand, it is also argued that expressive suppression may only manifest outside the body without changes on one’s emotions. As such, expressive suppression may lead to more maladaptive behavior depending on emotional reactions within the body and not what manifests on the outside.

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The Strengths of the Arguments

The arguments put across in the article are strong and valid because they have been backed by evidence. Although the sample used in the study is small, the arguments have been supported by information from other related studies. The use of information and ideas of other related studies enabled the researchers involved in carrying out the study to explore a wider point of view. This is better than making conclusion from a simple study that it not even conclusive enough. Furthermore, relating the study to other related studies shows that the arguments were not constructed hurriedly but were rather products of careful exploration of various possibilities. Therefore, the arguments are more convincing because they are based on evidence provided by other researchers, and not just the researcher(s) involved in this particular study.

The pointing out that there exists a relationship between social anxiety and eating disorders bring out yet strength in the arguments put across in the article. Although the arguments do not point out the exact cause of eating disorders, it is not mentioned that SAD is the main cause, at least not directly. Instead, the arguments use the study on the non-clinical sample of 160 women, and back it with information from other related studies to show that indeed there exists a relationship between social anxiety and eating disorders. The arguments also reveal the fact that the sample used was not inclusive enough because it only constituted a non-clinical sample of 160 undergraduate women. Therefore, it recognizes the fact that the results may not hold for a clinical sample ensuring that the arguments do not mislead.

The Weaknesses of the Arguments

While it is true that the arguments in the article have been put across quite elaborately, there are a few loopholes that reveal the weaknesses of the same arguments. The first and the major weakness of the arguments lie on the sample on which the arguments are based. The arguments are based on a non-clinical sample which is only made up of 160 undergraduate women. The sample used reveals a high degree of biasness because the sample lacks diversity. For this reason, there is a high likelihood that the women used in the sample have almost similar behavior because they share many social experiences. Moreover, the sample lacks diversity because men were not included in the study. Perhaps the response of men would have been different from those of the women who were used in the sample. Therefore, based on the sample used in the study, the arguments in the article may be ruled as not valid.

The borrowing of information from other sources, especially other studies, is yet another major undoing of the article. For instance, the article has borrowed ideas from the feminist and the displacement theory on which it has based some of its arguments. Furthermore, it should be noted that some of the information borrowed from other sources may have been findings on different studies and may not necessarily apply in the study on eating disorders. This renders the information unfit to be used in making the arguments on eating disorders. Meaningful studies entail going to the ground to gather information rather than depending on information provided from other research. The arguments would carry more weight if they would be mainly based on information derived from primary sources. Although it is better to support arguments using information that is relevant, the information that is borrowed should not outweigh one’s own ideas.

The use of a non-clinical sample is yet another major weakness of the sample used to gather information on which the arguments were based. Whereas the arguments conclude that indeed SAD is a major cause of eating disorders, the sample used is not reliable. From the article, it can be noted that the researcher(s) made use of a non-clinical sample of women. This means that the sample was not tested to confirm the absence of factors that could have influenced the results of the study. The women should have been taken through thorough screening to ensure that they were free from psychological disorders so as to make the sample more reliable. In fact, it has been pointed out in the article that during the study, information pertaining to the use of a clinical sample was not gathered. Therefore, there is no certainty as to whether the use of a clinical sample can yield similar results.

Lastly, the arguments in the article only recognize that there is a relationship between social anxiety and eating disorders. The article goes further to argue out that a big number of individuals, who usually exhibit signs of Social Anxiety Disorders, always experience eating disorders. However, the arguments do not point out what exactly causes eating disorders among individual with SAD. For instance, the arguments do not recognize the role of the brain in controlling body functions such as digestion. Furthermore, the psychological state of an individual is largely dependent and controlled by the brain. Therefore, the arguments should have pointed out that SAD compounds the problem of eating disorders.

Recommendations on How the Arguments Can Be Improved

As it has already been mentioned in this paper, the arguments put across in the article “Mediating Social Anxiety and Disordered Eating: The Role of Expressive Suppression” has weaknesses. Nonetheless, these weaknesses can be reduced, if not eliminated, by basing the arguments on primary research. The arguments should be based on first-hand information gathered for purposes of the study on eating disorders. Instead of borrowing information from other sources, a more inclusive sample should be used to gather information as a basis of the arguments in the article. The use of information that has been gathered from a primary source would make the arguments more valid because they would be backed by evidence rather than generalizations from a rather too small sample and previous studies.

To make the arguments stronger, the main cause(s) of eating disorders should be revealed as well as the exact relationship between social anxiety and eating disorders. As much as the arguments have been put across, one might not tell the exact point being communicated. In addition, the arguments should also include the relationship between social anxiety and the functioning of the brain. The arguments instead focus on the emotions that are exhibited by individuals suffering from social anxiety without explaining the role of the brain in influencing these emotions.

More Comments and Conclusion

Whereas the article in question has concentrated on relating eating disorders to emotional and psychological factors, it should also be noted that there are biological factors involved as well. According to the article, SAD is responsible for about twenty percent of the reported cases of eating disorders. This means that there are many other factors that cause eating disorders. For instance, about fifty-six percent cases of eating disorders are inherited. Digestive problems especially stomach problems can also cause eating disorders. For instance, people with regular stomach pains and upsets are likely to experience eating difficulties. Nonetheless, the linking of eating disorders to emotional and psychological factors makes a lot of sense because emotions come with one’s state of mind. Of particular importance is the explanation on how people’s perception on their bodies influences their feeding habits. However, as much as people suffering from SAD shy away from treatment for fear of the unknown, they should come out for treatment because ignoring the condition may have far-reaching effects.

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