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CentrePiece article
In brief...Eating disorders: the impact of self-image and peer pressure
Joan Costa-Font and Mireia Jofre-Bonet
December 2013
Paper No' CEPCP406:
Full Paper (pdf)

CentrePiece 18 (2) Autumn 2013

JEL Classification: I12; Q18

Tags: self-image; identity; body image; eating disorders; anorexia; european women

We need government intervention to prevent a potential epidemic of eating disorders, according to a study by Joan Costa-i-Font and Mireia Jofre-Bonet. Their research confirms the widespread belief that the proliferation of anorexia and bulimia among young women in Europe is heavily influenced by social attitudes towards physical appearance. They find that younger women are more sensitive to social changes that influence their self-image. In particular, the larger the body mass of a woman’s peers, the lower the likelihood she will be anorexic.

This article summarises ‘Anorexia, Body Image and Peer Effects: Evidence from a Sample of European Women’ by Joan Costa-i-Font and Mireia Jofre-Bonet, CEP Discussion Paper No. 1098, November 2011.