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Journal of Mathematical Psychology

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For at least the past ten years, eating disorders have had a major impact in the physical and mental health of women, particularly young women. Anorexia and bulimia nervosa are closely linked eating disorders. Anorexia often precedes bulimia. However, there are about 2 million women in college that have been exclusively bulimic. In this article, we focus on the role of college-peer pressure on the dynamics of anorexia-free bulimia. The model looks at bulimia as a progressive disease and explores the impact of intervention (treatment) at two stages of disease progression. The impact of relapse (a common occurrence among bulimics) is taken into account. Analysis indicates that the disorder cannot be wiped out in this population without a shift in cultural pressures; control strategies should include early detection and treatment, as well as preventative education campaigns.


Mathematics | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

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This research, carried out at the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI) of Cornell University, was sponsored by NSF grant DMS-9977919 and NSA grant MDA 904- 00-1-0006. The authors wish to thank MTBI’s sponsors, the Cornell University Office of the Provost, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Cornell-Sloan National Pipeline Program in the Mathematical Sciences) and SACNAS.

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