Disordered eating and body image dissatisfaction among multiracial and Asian females in the United States
Jackson, Hannah Lee
MetadataShow full item record
Race, ethnicity and culture are determinants of health behaviors that have not been fully explored in the context of eating disorders and body image research. This following research sought to fill the gap in this body of literature through the examination of impact that race/ethnicity identification and cultural practices have on disordered eating pathology and body dissatisfaction. The first study used a national data set to determine if adolescents of mixed racial ethnicity were more likely to engage in disordered eating behaviors than single race counterparts. Results showed that eating disorder pathology was higher among multiracial adolescents than all single racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Furthermore, compared to African American, Caucasian and Latino adolescents, multiracial adolescents have a higher risk of engaging in disordered eating behaviors (p<0.05). The second study examined eating disorder pathology, acculturation and body image dissatisfaction among East Asian females at The University of Georgia. Results indicate that all East Asian females have elevated disordered eating pathology. Comparing East Asian females born in the United States to non-U.S. born East Asian females, results show that being born in the United States as an East Asian female increased the prevalence of disordered eating pathology. To examine the previous findings more closely, identification with the Asian culture (Suinn-Lew Identification scale) was measured to determine the impact of acculturation on disordered eating and body image dissatisfaction; where higher identification with Asian cultural values and practices served as a protective factor compare to participants with lower Asian identification. These studies are unique both in approach and content. Eating disorder and body image research primarily focuses on majority populations that primarily consist of Caucasian females. Furthermore, no other study has examined the impact of identifying with more than one race (multiracial) and the impact on disordered eating pathology behavior. Scientists and clinicians alike will be able to use these results to further investigate the impact of cultural values on eating disorder behaviors as well as to identify potential cultural risk factors for disordered eating pathology and body image dissatisfaction.