Essay: Ethnic Identity Approach to Eating Disorders

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Essay: Ethnic Identity Approach to Eating Disorders

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Furthermore, other researchers have used ethnic identity approach to study eating disorders. These studies indicate that ethnic identity is one of the risk factors for the development of disordered eating behaviors and attitudes. This has been done through sampling women from various backgrounds such as White (Cachelin, et al., 2001), Hispanic (Cachelin, et al., 2001; Kuba & Harris, 2001), Asian (Ogden & Elder, 1998; Heinberg, 2003), Blacks (Lester & Petrie, 1998) and Australian (Staiger, 2000). During these studies, the sample selected included only women who met diagnostic criteria for Bulimia and/or Anorexia were used during the study. Research outcomes reflected high levels of ethnic identity serve to protect ethnic minorities from developing eating disorders.

For instance, the research conducted by Ogden & Elder, (1998), reported no relationship between eating disordered behaviors and ethnic identity through focusing on Asian and white mothers and their daughters. Research outcomes indicated that White girls were most concerned with their body weight and most dissatisfied with their body images. The Asian mothers reported high concern with weight, because they identify with their culture and lack of identification with the White media ideal. Therefore, this lack of identification with the White media ideal shields these Asian mothers from calorie concerns and body image.  Additionally, Mexican American and Blacks women who internalized society‘s beliefs about attractiveness, were at a greater risk for eating disorders.  Lester and Petrie (1998) with other researchers reported no relationship between ethnic identity and risk for developing eating disorders. They argued that non identification with White culture and the process of internalization of societal ideals is associated with low body satisfaction and low self-esteem.

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