Title

Intrasexual competition and other theories of eating restriction

Publication Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

1-2014

Abstract

Various forms of disordered eating and unhealthy eating practices, including excessive dieting, vomiting, binging and purging, and diet-motivated drug use, negatively affect and are potentially fatal to millions of individuals. We describe the etiology of disordered eating as well as various hypotheses on this phenomenon, both from traditional, non-evolutionary perspectives and from evolutionary perspectives. In particular, we explore in detail the intrasexual competition hypothesis, which draws on a broad evolutionary theory: intrasexual selection. From this perspective, women are thought to have evolved to compete intrasexually on thinness, which would have indicated youth and nubility in the ancestral past (Abed, 1998). In modern societies, however, an oversaturation of nubile-looking females, both real and virtual, may overstimulate this competitive mechanism, leading to unresolved body image dissatisfaction and eating restriction to the point of ill health. We discuss the theory, research, and implications of intrasexual competition and then provide a consideration of future directions for research on disordered eating.

Keywords

Sexual Behavior, Gender Studies, Psychology Research

Discipline

Gender and Sexuality | Social Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Sexual Psychology and Behavior

Editor

Weekes-Shackelford, V. A.; Shackelford, T. K.

First Page

323

Last Page

346

ISBN

9781493903139

Identifier

10.1007/978-1-4939-0314-6_17

Publisher

Springer Verlag

City or Country

New York

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-0314-6_17