A cross-cultural comparison of body image satisfaction among female college students
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As college students, particularly females, encounter sociocultural influences as well as developmental and genetic changes, many become dissatisfied with the image of their bodies. Body image dissatisfaction, preoccupation with weight, and eating disorders have become salient among young adults and prominent on college and university campuses. The present study sought to understand the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and behaviors regarding body image among female college students of various cultural groups. Specifically, the present study sought to provide an empirical foundation for understanding body image issues and eating-related behaviors between White and non-White, and international and domestic students. In addition, the relationship between level of acculturation and body image satisfaction was explored. Despite the literature supporting racial and cultural differences in body image and eating disorders, few differences were found between White and non-White and domestic and international students and no relationship was found between the amount of time spent in the United States and body image satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Future research should consider studying various cultural groups and cross-cultural comparisons of body image related issues as well as address the importance of racial and ethnic identity and level of acculturation on one’s body image. The impact of Westernization and pressures from men, peers, and family members should also be explored.