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Clin Psychol Rev. 2001 Jun;21(4):521-51.

The roles of ethnicity and culture in the development of eating disturbance and body dissatisfaction: a meta-analytic review.

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  • 1University of Virginia, USA.


This meta-analysis involved 35 studies examining eating disturbance and body dissatisfaction in white and non-white populations and the role of acculturation in the development of eating-related psychopathology. While the role of acculturation in predisposing non-whites to eating disorders remains to be determined, mean effect sizes indicate that whites report more eating disturbance than non-whites. Differences are greatest when studies compare black and white college samples on measures of subclinical eating pathology, like dietary restraint, ideal body shape, and body dissatisfaction. They are weakest when non-clinic populations and clinical forms of eating disturbance, like bulimia nervosa, are examined. These findings suggest that the current literature may be incorrect in its view that subclinical and clinical forms of eating disturbance represent the poles of a single continuum. In addition, they call into question the belief that SES influences the development of eating pathology.

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