Type of paper: Report

Topic: Eating, Disorders, Literature, Study, Medicine, Information, Prevention, Eating Disorders

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/03/29

A Critique of Favaro et al. (2005)

Eating disorder prevention is still a controversial issue, as some researchers argue whether or not existing prevention methods are actually effective, or even counterproductive.
Subsequently, the authors deal with the research question of whether or not psychoeducational eating disorder preventive interventions run by teachers with specialized training are effective at preventing eating disorders. With the citing of existing literature, the research problem and question are sensibly stated and introduced into the body of the study. While not explicitly stated, the authors’ hypothesis would seem to be that trained psychoeducational eating disorder preventive intervention programs have the effect of preventing eating disorders in their subjects.

B) The scope construction of the literature review:

C) The specific research design: (Include a brief explanation for the selection of design):
A quantitative research design was selected by the authors – quantitative research involves the objective collection of data using numerical metrics, as opposed to the use of subjective data (i.e. non-numerical data) in qualitative studies (Golafshani, 2003). This research design is ideal for studies like these, which use specific instruments to gather data for statistical analysis. Dependent variables included the presence of an eating disorder and independent variables being the existence of a preventive intervention program.
D) The methods employed for collecting data including

The site: an Italian urban vocational school.

Context: Nine classes related to eating disorder prevention.
Participants: 141 female students, all 18-19 years of age.
Research tools: Clinical interviews, conducted by clinical psychologists and psychiatrists along specific selected metrics (presence of full or partial-syndrome eating disorders). Tools used include the SCID and EAT-40, standardized tools for diagnosing the presence of eating disorders in participants. Given these methods, the procedures by which the researchers conducted this study are relatively sound, despite the comparatively small sample size for the study itself.

E) The methods used to analyze data:

After data collection, the data was analyzed using t-tests, with the Robins et al. formula used to detect statistical significance, as well as ANOVA tests to analyze prevention program impact, group variance and distribution. SPSS programs were used for further statistical analysis. These programs are all reputable, and the combination of metrics provides a measure of validity for the study’s findings – the use of a 95% confidence interval also furthers the findings’ validity.

F) Ethical Consideration:

The presence of the school within this research design brings up a number of ethical issues, which were appropriately covered by the authors’ work to achieved informed consent. Students and their guardians were informed about the nature of the study, and the students’ details were kept anonymous. To that end, the study as performed was ethically sound.

G) Underlying philosophical assumptions:

Underlying the study and its subject (eating disorder prevention) is the philosophical utility of instruction and education in order to guide behavior; the authors assert that, through attention paid to the issue through education and training, subjects can learn to avoid negative behaviors via instruction. The study also wrestles with the idea that instruction on prevention can be harmful, which is bought up in discussion of the existing literature on this subject. However, the results indicate that the authors’ underlying assumptions about education leading to prevention being a sound one.

H) The discussion:

Results: The authors determine that, at 10%, the rate of eating disorder development in the sample development was substantial, but that participants taking part in the intervention had much lower rates of development of eating disorders. The intervention proved to be effective on some variables of eating disorder development, such as unhealthy weight control practices and self-esteem towards one’s body.
Conclusions: The authors conclude that prevention programs are able to have a positive impact on participants without the risk of harm that is often assumed about eating disorder prevention programs. The use of interviews to derive this information, rather than the self-report methods mentioned in other studies, solidifies the study’s effectiveness and comparative impartiality.
I) Study Limitation
Because the sample size is so limited, the findings are muted in their effectiveness and applicability to other research and the overall scholarship of this field. In order to provide more reputable results for such a research design, a larger sample size should be utilized. Another possible limitation, pointed out by the authors, is the specific geographical and cultural context of the area (a recently industrialized part of Italy), which provides a bit of selection bias towards an environment that is more conducive to eating disorders. While the authors mention this in their list of limitations, the possibility of this bias remains, making it necessary to point out the data’s applicability to a very specific environment.


Favaro, A., Zanetti, T., Huon, G., and Santonastaso, P.(2005), Engaging teachers in an eating
disorder preventive intervention, International Journal of Eating Disorders, 38(1), 73–77.
Golafshani, N. (2003, December). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research. The Qualitative Report, 8 (4), 597-607.

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