Thesis Title

Eating Disorders and Contemporary Women

Graduation Date

Spring 1992

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


This study explores the problem of eating disorders among contemporary women. I have explored the hypotheses set forth by other researchers that the high incidence of eating disorders reflects

  1. a struggle of women to evolve a personal identity—by this I mean an individuation process which is defined in terms of a woman's own life and reality, not that of the culture;
  2. women's unconscious conflicts of guilt and ambivalance, especially in relation to their own mothers; and
  3. the mothers' struggles with the source of their own female identities and their relationships to their bodies.

The results of this study show a high correlation between eating disorders and issues of women's roles in contemporary culture, and indicate a need for further research. In addition, art therapy was shown to be an effective tool for use with individuals with eating disorders.