Eating disorder symptoms and body image concerns in Iran: comparisons between Iranian women in Iran and in America

Int J Eat Disord. 2001 Nov;30(3):259-68. doi: 10.1002/eat.1083.


Objective: Rates of eating disorder symptoms were compared between Iranian women living in Iran and Iranian women living in America, in order to assess the impact of Western culture on eating disorders. Women in Iran are mandated by law to cover their bodies with a long veil or overcoat and they have little legal exposure to Western culture and media.

Method: Fifty-nine female Iranian students living in Tehran and 45 female students of Iranian descent living in Los Angeles were surveyed with the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire and the Figure Rating Scale.

Results: Few differences were found between participants in the two samples, despite ample power to detect them. Participants in Iran reported as much disordered eating as participants who had immigrated to America.

Discussion: Neither exposure to Western media nor acculturation to Western norms appeared to be related to symptoms of disordered eating and body image concerns in this sample.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Clothing*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / ethnology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran / ethnology
  • Mass Media
  • United States / ethnology