Online Program

Not otherwise specified: Racial comparisons in maternal and peer influences on body dissatisfaction and eating disorders among African American and White women

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sarah Javier, MS, Department of Psychology, Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Melanie Moore, MS, Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention, Richmond, NC
Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Although body dissatisfaction (BD) and disordered eating were once considered problems primarily affecting White women, a shift in racial inclusiveness in research points to an increasing prevalence of these phenomena among racial minorities. Given that untreated eating disorders (EDs) can lead to a myriad of negative psychological and health outcomes, as well as significant racial disparities in treatment-seeking and diagnosis, an examination of possible consequences and antecedents was undertaken. Specifically, we examined differences in the role of maternal and peer attitudes towards appearance and weight on BD and EDs, and whether these relationships varied by race. Self-report data including measures BD, EDE-Q score (global), BMI, and maternal and peer attitudes, were collected from a representatively diverse group of women at a university in the Mid-Atlantic (n = 175). Results indicated that BMI (β = 0.20, p = 0.01), peer attitudes (β = 0.23, p = 0.02), and race (β = 0.33, p < 0.001) were independently associated with BD. Additionally, there was an interaction between race and peer attitudes on BD such that at high peer attitudes, African American women reported high levels of BD (β = -0.20, p = 0.04), and this was not the case with White women. Peer attitudes (β = 0.33, p < 0.001), BMI (β = 0.29, p < 0.001), and race (β = 0.20, p = 0.003), also were associated with ED global score. The results of this study have implications for prevention programs that address BD and EDs among racially diverse women.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare determinants of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders among different racial groups Discuss implications as they relate to increasing treatment-seeking motivations and culturally competent provision of care

Keyword(s): African American, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted my thesis work on the topic of eating disorders among ethnic minority women. I have been working with ethnic minority women in the field of HIV prevention, substance use, and body image for the duration of my graduate school tenure.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.