Award Date

May 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Kristen Culbert

Second Committee Member

Cortney Warren

Third Committee Member

Noelle Lefforge

Fourth Committee Member

Stephen Benning

Fifth Committee Member

Kathryn Korgan

Number of Pages

189

Abstract

The sociocultural idealization of thinness and Eurocentric features (e.g., lighter skin) is ubiquitous in Westernized cultures, yet only some women internalize these ideals and/or perceive heightened pressures to conform to such ideals. Elevated internalization and perceived pressures to obtain thinness and Eurocentric features may contribute to disordered eating and unique types of body dysmorphic concerns (e.g., dissatisfaction with skin color, eye size/ shape), respectively. Such difficulties may be particularly relevant for ethnic minority women; however, little research exists examining such effects. Further, few studies have comprehensively examined the intersection between sociocultural and culture-specific (e.g., ethnic identity; biculturalism) predictors on disordered eating and/or body dysmorphic difficulties. Culture-specific factors may contribute to individual differences that, in combination with sociocultural influences, lead to the development of disordered eating or Eurocentric body dysmorphic concerns in some ethnic minority women, but not others. This project examined an intersection of sociocultural and culture-specific predictors of disordered eating and Eurocentric body dysmorphic concerns in Asian American college women (N = 430). Data collected online via self-report measures tested the intersection and predictive effects of sociocultural and culture-specific influences on disordered eating and Eurocentric body dysmorphic symptoms. Path analyses indicated that thin-ideal internalization and pressures for thinness both positively predicted disordered eating. Acculturative stress was identified as an additional positive predictor of disordered eating. Likewise, Eurocentric-ideal internalization and pressures for Eurocentric ideals positively predicted Eurocentric body dysmorphic concerns. The relative role of ethnic identity, biculturalism, and acculturative stress for Eurocentric body dysmorphic concerns were undeterminable due to poor model fit. Overall, findings: (1) indicated that the leading sociocultural model for disordered eating is relevant to Asian American women; (2) supported a corollary sociocultural model for Eurocentric-body dysmorphic concerns; and (3) highlighted the need for further examination of acculturative stress as a predictor of disordered eating. Findings also can inform the treatment of disordered eating and Eurocentric body dysmorphic concerns in Asian American women. Specifically, assessing culture-specific factors (i.e., biculturalism, and acculturative stress) could be useful for developing culturally informed case conceptualization and interventions for Asian American women.

Keywords

Acculturation; Acculturative stress; Asian American women; Body dysmorphic concerns; Disordered eating; Sociocultural

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology

Language

English


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