The impact of discrimination on binge eating in a nationally representative sample of Latine individuals

Int J Eat Disord. 2022 Aug;55(8):1120-1129. doi: 10.1002/eat.23773. Epub 2022 Jul 7.


Objective: Latines have higher rates of eating disorders characterized by binge eating compared to their non-Latine white counterparts, yet culturally and socially relevant factors related to binge eating in Latines have been largely understudied. The purpose of the current study was to examine how discrimination and acculturative stress were associated with binge eating in a nationally representative sample of Latines. An additional aim was to test the extent to which family cohesion and social support could buffer against the effects of discrimination and acculturative stress on binge eating.

Method: Participants (56% female, N = 2550) were Latines enrolled in the National Latino and Asian American Study. Structural equation modeling using 1000 re-sampled data sets built from machine learning iterative sampling procedures was used to examine the effects of discrimination, acculturative stress, family cohesion, and social support on binge eating.

Results: Results indicated that only discrimination was significantly associated with binge eating. Neither the direct effect of acculturative stress, interaction of family cohesion and acculturative stress, interaction of social cohesion and acculturative stress, nor the interaction of social support and discrimination were significantly associated with binge eating.

Discussion: This study highlights the need for mental-health providers to understand and assess discrimination among Latines presenting with concerns of binge eating. Treatments that effectively provide coping strategies to manage discriminatory experiences and reduce binge eating could improve both effectiveness of treatment and retention rates for Latine individuals with binge eating.

Public significance: This study examined the association of discrimination, acculturative stress, family cohesion, and social support with binge eating in Latines. Only discrimination was significantly associated with binge eating, highlighting the importance for providers to assess discrimination among Latines with binge-eating concerns and to improve equity, inclusion, and belonging at a societal level. Modifying existing treatments to address coping with discrimination could improve the effectiveness for Latines with binge-eating concerns.

Keywords: Latine; Latino; acculturative stress; binge eating; binge-eating disorder; bulimia nervosa; discrimination; eating disorder; ethnic minority; feeding and eating disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Binge-Eating Disorder* / complications
  • Binge-Eating Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Bulimia* / complications
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stress, Psychological