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The objective of this
article was to identify factors that pose risks particularly associated with
eating disorders in adolescences. Doctor Rhode, Stice and Marti conducted a
longitudinal study in which participants were to complete self-report
interviews and assessments regarding body image and dissatisfaction. The study
examined six different variables and the period of developmental change known
as adolescence. In attempt to understand the theoretical relationship between
the two, they concluded that five out of the six predictors impacted the rate
of early onset eating disorders. After reviving this article, I’ve decided that
some of the methodological decisions made by the researchers could be improved.
This experiment includes flaws regarding external validity and interrater
reliability but does a really good job with establishing construct validity.

            The first factor that I decided was an issue was the
demographic of the sample obtained. Almost nearly 70% of the participants were Caucasian,
and the researchers only sampled students from major private schools. The
design of this experiment wasn’t necessary an inappropriate choice for what
they were trying to asses but the researchers could’ve better controlled for
bias during the sampling and collection of data. For a large majority of the
people who do attend private schools are usually upper-class Caucasian students
and for that reason, I don’t agree with that being an accurate representation
of the population. Let alone the population of people that suffer from eating
disorders. I feel like the researchers could’ve randomly sampled students from several
public schools which would’ve given them a sample that was much more representative
of middle schoolers.  Threats to external
validity make us question a studies design, results and applicability, so the
more demonstrative our sample is the more we can generalize to the greater
population.

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            The second flaw I noticed was that the experiment did not
demonstrate consistency when obtaining scores. Interrater reliability was not
established throughout the course of the experiment. The study used assessments
and interviews to collect data and scores based on mental health and body
dissatisfaction. The scores were not perfectly consistent with that of the
other observers and as mentioned in the study, researchers were unable to obtain
some scores at the beginning of the experiment. Although there is no such thing
as getting “perfect” scores each time you conduct an experiment, it is
important that your scores are relatively consistent no matter who is
measuring. I would suggest improving interrater reliability by establishing
clear cut guidelines and questions to improve the quality of assessments and interviews.
I believe the researchers could’ve also had better coders as well as more of
them.

            The last methodological factor I am going to discuss is
not considered a flaw, in fact it is a perfect example of how well the
researchers established construct validity. Concepts and variables were accurately
defined which allowed them to properly assess body image, the pressure to be
thin and mental health. They used Likert scales that measured and assessed the
different ways in which participants felt about, thought about, and saw
themselves which were key indicators in determining onset eating disorders.
Each type of assessments evaluated the relationship between these disorders and
age concluding that body dissatisfaction, perceived pressure to be thin,
thin-ideal internalization, dieting and negative affectivity each have an
impact on the development of eating disorders for women ages 13-15. Ultimately,
the scales that were used were reflective of what they were researching.

            Overall this experiment was well designed and appropriate
for understanding the theoretical relationship between the different stages of
development and when these risk factors first present themselves. I believe
that the researchers could’ve picked a larger and fairer sample that would’ve
minimize bias and would’ve better control for generalizability. The more representative
a sample is, the more significant your results will be.  Also, I’d suggest that the researchers could’ve
provided clearer instructions for the coders and interviews. The more consistent
your scores are, the more statistically valid the findings are. These recommended
improvements would not only change the results of the study but they would also
improve the validity and reliability of the entire experiment making it almost
nearly a perfect one.

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