Recently research into eating disorders has focused on not just the individual patient but on their relationships with other people and the rest of society. The idea of social rank concerns individual's perceived or actual place in social heirarchies and low social rank can be conceived as; the perception that one is of low social rank, that one has been put down by a dominant other, that one is unable to escape an uncontrollable set of circumstances and the giving up of competing with others through submissive behaviour. Previous studies have found an association between low social rank and eating disorders. A study of 74 female office staff in London looked into the links between various aspects of social rank, eating disorders and depression. It found that submissive behaviour and an unfavourable social comparison were linked to disordered eating while social defeat and internal entrapment predicted depressive symptoms.
Troop, Nicholas A. and Baker, Anna H. - The specificity of social rank in eating disorder versus depressive symptoms Eating Disorders July-September 2008, 16(4), 331-341