Eating disturbance and body image: a comparison of a community sample of adult black and white women

Int J Eat Disord. 1996 Dec;20(4):377-87. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199612)20:4<377::AID-EAT5>3.0.CO;2-K.


Objective: This study examined racial differences in eating disorder symptomatology in a community-based sample of middle-aged adult Black and White women and investigated predictors of body image dissatisfaction in these two different racial groups, since most research has focused on young adult White women.

Method: Subjects (538 Black and White women) completed the Eating Disorder Inventory and measures of social pressures about thinness and negative attitudes about overweight.

Results: Black and White women reported comparable levels of eating disturbance. However, after controlling for degree of overweight, White women had significantly greater rates of body dissatisfaction than Black women. Nonetheless, both racial groups reported considerable body image dissatisfaction and similar factors were found to predict body dissatisfaction for Black and White women.

Discussion: Our data and other recent data indicate that eating disturbance occurs across a much broader age, race, and socioeconomic distribution than previously suspected. Research implications are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Attitude
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / ethnology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thinness