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J Am Coll Health. 2008 Nov-Dec;57(3):309-14. doi: 10.3200/JACH.57.3.309-314.

Cultural factors in collegiate eating disorder pathology: when family culture clashes with individual culture.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, The University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA. tomiyama@psych.ucla.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The authors evaluated the validity of familial enmeshment (extreme proximity in family relationships) as a risk factor for eating disorders across cultural value orientations. They tested the hypothesis that although familial enmeshment may be a risk factor for eating disorder pathology for (1) participants of non-Asian descent or (2) culturally independent participants, enmeshment will not be a risk factor for (1) participants of Asian descent or (2) culturally interdependent participants.

PARTICIPANTS:

255 undergraduate women participated.

METHODS:

Participants completed questionnaires on cultural value orientations, enmeshment, and eating disorder pathology.

RESULTS:

As hypothesized, enmeshment was related to eating disorder pathology in non-Asian American and culturally independent participants, but not in Asian American and culturally interdependent participants.

CONCLUSIONS:

Depending on cultural values, enmeshment may or may not be a risk factor for eating disorders. This study highlights the importance of examining risk factors in the appropriate cultural framework when considering college student mental health.

PMID:
18980887
DOI:
10.3200/JACH.57.3.309-314
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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