Anne E. Becker is an anthropologist and psychiatrist who studies the impact of social environment on mental health. Her work has focused particularly on the cultural mediation of disordered eating and body image among ethnic Fijians, a small-scale indigenous population undergoing rapid social and economic transition. She is the author of Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), and she was the principal investigator of a study on the effects of exposure to Western mass media on the body image of ethnic Fijian adolescent girls when television was introduced to Fiji a decade ago.
During the fellowship year, Becker will work on a book that integrates ethnographic and epidemiologic perspectives from her longitudinal work in Fiji to examine the social context of disordered eating and suicidal behavior among teenage girls there. This work will also seek to illuminate sociocultural factors contributing to risk and resilience during the navigation of adolescence in the midst of relative social turbulence.
Becker received her MD/PhD in anthropology, and ScM in epidemiology from Harvard University. She is an associate professor of medical anthropology and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, where she is also the director of the Social Sciences M.D.-Ph.D. Program. She was coeditor-in-chief of the journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry from 2000 until 2007 and is the director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.