Schools, competition, drive for perfection and anorexia

School culture may promote anorexia

The study shows that schools play a critical role in the development of girls’ self image, confidence and self-esteem, with many of the girls citing particular high school experiences as defining moments in their anorexia.

“In school environments where high achievers win awards and enjoy the esteem of their peers and under-achievers are regarded as failures, kids learn from a young age that success and achievement are desirable virtues,” says Associate Professor Halse.

“When the culture and practices of schools focus excessively on competition and individual achievement, it can encourage a drive for perfection. This drive for perfection is a key feature of anorexia, and for vulnerable individuals it can extend to other areas of daily life.”

Categories: education, gender & feminism, health, Science


3 replies

  1. Basically they have discovered the mug’s hole.
    So the quest for perfection, academical success and individual achievement makes kids miserable in one way or another? NO KIDDIN!

  2. I can see what they are saying there, but they aren’t saying it well. Success and achievement are desirable virtues? So, it would be better if success and achievement were undesirable?

  3. I suspect that they’re raising some enquiry into whether the current plethora of ranking systems are all that helpful. Fewer competitive examinations and more assessments based simply on mastery of the subject matter, etc.
    I agree that the news coverage of the study is pretty poorly phrased, but that’s par for the course in science journalism, isn’t it?

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