Student Research Projects

The Relationship Dynamic between Eating Disorders and the Sex Trade

Student Jacob Settle
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Psychology
Course The Psychology of Eating Disorders


The relationship between young girls caught in the sex trade with her handler can be directly related and compared to the physical and psychological interactions between an eating disorder, referred to as “Ed”, and its sufferer. The experiences they both have to endure are life-threatening, severe, invasive, and often have long and short-term physical and psychological impacts. The prevalence rates of both the sex trade and eating disorders have been steadily increasing as of late and the severity of distress experienced by these young women is catastrophic. These aspects will be explored, developed, and explained in the context of the prostitute and her handler in tandem with the anorexic and “Ed.” Many descriptions of the anorexic and the impact an eating disorder has on the life of the sufferer is founded in research, personal experience, and personal accounts that are illustrated via examples from Portia De Rossi’s portrayal of her own eating disorder in her novel Unbearable Lightness. The similarities found between these two topics are extraordinary and encase a wide range of facets that are addressed in my project.