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Int J Eat Disord. 1995 Sep;18(2):181-7.

Sociocultural influences on eating attitudes and behaviors, body image, and psychological functioning: a comparison of African-American, Asian-American, and Caucasian college women.

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  • 1Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

Abstract

Eating attitudes and behaviors, body image, and psychological functioning were evaluated in 98 female college students: 36 African-Americans, 34 Asian-Americans, and 28 Caucasians. African-Americans had significantly higher body mass index than either Asian-American or Caucasians. In contrast, Caucasians reported greater levels of disordered eating and dieting behaviors and attitudes and greater body dissatisfaction than did Asian-Americans and African-Americans who differed little on these measures. The nature of variability in these eating behaviors and attitudes and body image was also examined within each of the three groups. A generally consistent pattern emerged within each racial group: low self-esteem and high public self-consciousness were associated with greater levels of problematic eating behaviors and attitudes and body dissatisfaction. A history of being teased about weight and size was associated with problematic eating behaviors and attitudes and body dissatisfaction in African-Americans and Caucasians but not in Asian-Americans. The findings suggest that there exist important racial differences on various aspects of eating, dieting, and body image in college women. Contrary to hypothesis, the degree of acculturation and assimilation within the African-American and Asian-American groups was unrelated to variability in these domains.

PMID:
7581421
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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