Extended Definition and Technical Description of Eating Disorders

Extended Definition and Technical Description of Eating Disorders


In the United States, food has a complex relationship with the consumer. A large chunk of American citizens has an unhealthy relationship with citizens. A significant number of American citizens are obese without accounting for those not obese with eating disorders. The impact that accessibility to food, social implications to self-esteem, body image and other factors have on the relationship with food has caused an epidemic in unhealthy relationship and behavior with food. In some cases, these relationships and destructive behaviors can be extreme and long term. Extreme long term unhealthy relationships with food are called eating disorders. Around 29 million Americans struggle with a diagnosed eating disorder, according to the National anorexia nervosa and associated disorders. A problem with this topic is that it does not consider the problem of

Extended Definition

In heterosexual marriages with work-family conflicts, women are generally expected to quit their jobs and become full-time stay-at-home mothers, as “a majority of women identify their family role as a direct care provider while men identify their family role as a financial provider” (Kim, 2020, p. 3). This occurrence typically affects families with married parents that are in the middle and upper class (Lerner, 2006). To understand the topic at hand, it is important to understand a few more terms. Work-family conflicts occur when family responsibilities interfere with work responsibilities (Kim, 2020, p. 1). Stay-at-home parents consist of a parent that “does not work for income but provides childcare to his or her own children” (Lerner, 2006). This concept has existed for a long time but has become more controversial in recent years, sparking the debate regarding which parent should step down from their career. The societal norm within the United States generally “prioritizes men’s careers over women’s careers in dual-earner households” (Cha, 2010, p. 303) which then “[pressures] women to quit their jobs” (Cha, 2010, p. 303). To prevent this occurrence, many employers are working toward providing flexible work schedules, and some even offer childcare (Kim, 2020, p. 1).

Technical Description

Due to factors such as self-image, genetics, biology, behavioral disruptions can occur and sprout behavioral conditions that can be found and characterized by chronic and severe disruptions in eating behavior that are typically associated with thoughts of distress and distressing emotions. Very serious conditions may arise out of these behaviors such as Anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, and other eating and feeding disorders like pica and rumination disorder. ( ) Women are typically the victims of this mental illness statistically, but the aforementioned disorders can still affect men ( ). Researchers are unsure what the certain and foundational cause for an eating disorder is( ).

However, one general cause of a parent needing to step down from their job is that employees are being heavily overworked (Cha, 2010, p. 303). Unfortunately, overworking employees “systematically disadvantages women,” (Cha, 2010, p. 304) as women are expected by society to take “primary responsibility for household labor with minimal spousal support” (Cha, 2010, p. 304). As illustrated in Figure 1, stay-at-home mothers exist at a significantly higher rate than stay-at-home fathers (Livingston, 2018). While working many hours and caring for the household, women are also more “likely to be evaluated poorly and disadvantaged in promotions and wage growth,” (Cha, 2010, p. 309) making it difficult to remain in the labor force with fewer promotions and lower wages, all while being “scrutinized more harshly” (Cha, 2010, p. 309) by management than men. Even if women do choose to continue working, and either the men become stay-at-home parents or outside help is hired, “research suggests that women with children may be penalized more than other workers for not being present at work” (Cha, 2010, p. 309). Additionally, men and women may both have “achievement-oriented qualities,” (Cha, 2010, p. 309) however women with these qualities are “seen as ‘selfish’ and interpersonally hostile,” (Cha, 2010, p. 309) while men are praised for being confident and going after what they want. These qualities cause women to be “less suitable for managerial positions,” (Cha, 2010, p. 309) furthering the gender pay gap and reasons to continue working. So, if women are treated more harshly and evaluated poorly simply for being mothers, why would they continue working paid jobs if their husbands are able to provide financial stability?

In certain individuals, there are behavioral conditions that can be found and characterized by chronic and severe disruptions in eating behavior that are typically associated with thoughts of distress and distressing emotions. Very serious conditions may arise out of these behaviors such as Anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, and other eating and feeding disorders like pica and rumination disorder.

Figure 1

Comparison of Numbers of Stay-at-Home Mothers and Fathers

(Livingston, 2018).


Overall, women and mothers in the workplace are treated unfairly, and their pay and lack of promotions reflect that. The unfortunate truth is that men are statistically more likely to receive promotions, earn higher pay, and receive praise for their accomplishments, so it makes sense that many mothers become stay-at-home parents, rather than fathers (Cha, 2010, p. 309). To have more women in the workplace rising to the top and becoming CEOs and business leaders, how can systematic change occur? How can society adjust to support women, rather than keep their traditional gender roles? Each of these questions is important to consider in moving forward as a productive and healthy society.


Kim. (2020). An unforeseen story of alpha-woman: breadwinner women are more likely to quit the job in work-family conflicts. Applied Economics, 52(55), 6009–6021. https://doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2020.1781775 (Links to an external site.)Cha. (2010). Reinforcing separate spheres: The effect of spousal overwork on men’s and women’s employment in dual-earner households. American Sociological Review, 75(2), 303–329. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122410365307 (Links to an external site.)Stay-At-Home Parents Top Five Million. (2006). In K. L. Lerner, B. W. Lerner, & A. W. Lerner (Eds.), Gender Issues and Sexuality: Essential Primary Sources (pp. 331-333). Gale. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX2587400138/OVIC?u=pull21986&sid=bookmark-OVIC&xid=7b869fc9 (Links to an external site.)Livingston, G. (2018, September 24). About 1 in 5 U.S. moms and dads are stay-at-home parents. Pew Research Center. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/24/stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-account-for-about-one-in-five-u-s-parents/ (Links to an external site.)

Audience Planner

1. Describe your intended audience—who are these readers?

My intended audience for this document is my fellow classmates in English 402. These readers are nonspecialists, but hopefully will find interest in the topic and will be eager to learn more. Another intended audience is future parents. As childcare is expensive and time-consuming, an important discussion to have is how their future children will be cared for, if both parents plan on working, or to determine which parent will step down from their career.

2. Describe your intended audience in terms of the organization they work for and their position or title.

My intended audience is students in English 402 at Washington State University. As these students are nonspecialists, there is no background knowledge required for reading about the topic of stay-at-home parents and the gender inequality associated with quitting to parent full-time. Expecting parents can belong to any organization and have any position or title. An organization called UN Women exists, that focuses on working towards gender equality globally. Though my document focuses on the United States, this organization and its executive board would likely support my efforts in researching my topic and finding a solution.

3. Describe your intended audience in terms of their occupation, profession, or field.

As my intended audience is my fellow classmates, their occupation is being a student. Students make up a wide variety of different fields, which can bring more insight and perspective into this reading. If parents are considering quitting their jobs to become stay-at-home parents, their occupation is whatever professional job that they are currently working in but may soon become unemployed. The executive board of UN Women, which consists of 41 council members, works to establish policies that support gender equality. They are representatives of regions around the globe.

4. Describe your intended audience in terms of their needs for or interest in the information you plan to include in this writing project.

Though students may not currently need the information in this document, the information can influence them and their decisions later in life if they choose to have children. As for expecting parents, their interest in this information directly correlates, as they may be determining which parent will stay at home, if at all. As UN Women works towards gender equality, their interest in the information that I plan to include in this writing project aligns well. Both UN Women and I are looking for answers and solutions to gender equality, which I am looking into in my document.

5. Describe how your intended audience will use the information you include in this writing project.

I hope for my intended audience to use the information included within this document to increase their knowledge on the subject and to be aware of the ways that men versus women are treated in the workplace. If all genders are open-minded to the inequalities being faced, then change can occur. The UN Women organization will use my included information to bring further awareness to the issue and can provide more information on the subject.

6. Describe the technical background of your intended audience–what do they know and not know about your topic? What are their technical limitations in relation to this writing project?

There is minimal technical background required of my intended audience. My intended audience should be relatively familiar with the expenses and requirements of raising children, as they are significant. However, more specific knowledge is not required, as the rest of the topic is clearly explained.

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