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date: 21 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the ethical issues associated with explaining, understanding, and treating disorderly eating behaviors (DEB) in young women. It argues that the kind of gender-related, self-destructive behavior observed in disordered eating seems to be incongruent with individualistic analysis and explanation, instead pointing to evidence indicating that it is better to view such disorders as group phenomena. After reviewing recent studies that looked into the prevalence and causes of “group” disorders using the particular example of bulimia, the article describes the new category of “belonging bulimia” that may be used to understand, and hence prevent, such epidemics. It discusses the theoretical assumptions pertinent to belonging bulimia, with emphasis on relationality, causal explanation, and social behavior. It stresses the need to study social factors in the etiology of belonging bulimia with the neuroscience of groups, rather than just individuals. It also calls for a greater focus on virtue ethics to address belonging bulimia.

Keywords: disorderly eating behaviors, young women, group disorders, belonging bulimia, relationality, social behavior, etiology, neuroscience, virtue ethics

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