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Eating attitudes in ethnic minority adolescents : sociocultural and psychological correlates Bhimani, Farah

Abstract

Hither incidences o f eating disorders and related pathology are reported in Caucasian- European adolescent girls as compared to adolescent boys or individuals from other ethnic populations (Osvold & Sodowsky, 1993). Consequently, research has principally utilized European-Caucasian girls to develop the current understanding of eating pathology in adolescent populations (Striegel-Moore & Smolak, 2000). Thus, our knowledge of the characteristics and correlates of eating pathology is limited to this exclusive population. T o alleviate this shortcoming, recent literature has assessed eating pathology among European-Caucasian adolescent boys, as well as adolescent girls and boys across various ethnic populations (Crago, Shisslak, & Estes, 1996; Dolan, 1991). Unfortunately, despite this increase in empirical attention, the understanding of eating pathology among ethnic minority adolescents living among a European-Caucasian majority population remains limited. Specifically, the intention of this study was to expanded our understanding of the relations among eating attitudes and sociocultural attitudes towards appearance, acculturation, depression, self-esteem, selfconsciousness and adolescent egocentrism in a sample of ethnic minority adolescent girls and boys. This study also expanded current literature across Results found no overall significant difference in eating pathology between minority adolescent girls and boys. Although, adolescent girls reported a desire for overall weight loss and adolescent boys desired overall weight gain. In addition, adolescent girls, as compared to boys, were less likely to exercise or describe the food their family eats as healthy. Results further indicated that girls are less aware of western sociocultural attitudes towards appearance and were more likely than to acculturate to the western culture as compared to adolescent boys. Correlational analysis for adolescent girls and boys revealed several significant relations among eating pathology and many of the sociocultural and psychological variables examined in this study. Nevertheless, when entered into a simultaneous regression analysis a single significant predictor was found with for each gender. Public self-consciousness was found to be the only predictor of eating pathology for adolescent girls and private self-consciousness was found to be the only significant predictor of eating pathology in adolescent boys. Overall results support the importance of self-consciousness as a risk factor in the development of eating pathology among ethnic minority adolescent girls and boys.

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