Cultural Influences on Body Image and the Eating Disorders

Michael P. Levine and Linda Smolak

in The Oxford Handbook of Eating Disorders

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373622
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199940318 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Cultural Influences on Body Image and the Eating Disorders

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Data from different cultures and American ethnic groups help to effectively address eating problems and disorders in these groups and to elucidate sociocultural etiological factors. Research indicates that (1) eating disorders exist internationally and in all American ethnic groups; (2) indicators of disordered eating and eating disorders are similar across cultures and ethnic groups, though there are important differences; (3) among American ethnic groups, there are some etiological similarities; (4) cultural transitions (e.g., Westernization, modernization, transnational mass media) appear to increase risk of the spectrum of disordered eating; and (5), acculturation, discrimination, and racial/ethnic teasing may also be risk factors. Research concerning the etiology, course, prevention, and treatment of disordered eating in different cultural groups is urgently needed.

Keywords: body dissatisfaction; body image; cross-cultural; culture; eating disorders; ethnicity

Article.  18609 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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