Ethnic differences in psychosocial and health behavior correlates of dieting, purging, and binge eating in a population-based sample of adolescent females

Int J Eat Disord. 1997 Nov;22(3):315-22. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(199711)22:3<315::aid-eat11>;2-x.


Objective: To examine ethnic differences in factors associated with disordered eating behaviors.

Method: Data were collected from 17,159 adolescent females who completed a school-based health survey conducted in 1987.

Results: In all ethnic groups, dieting was associated in bivariate analyses with weight dissatisfaction, perceived overweight, and low body pride. Purging was associated with weight dissatisfaction, perceived overweight, low body pride, greater suicide risk, and greater alcohol use. Binge eating was associated with weight dissatisfaction, perceived overweight, low body pride, lower family connectedness, greater peer acceptance concerns, and emotional stress.

Discussion: Body dissatisfaction and perceived overweight are consistent correlates of dieting and binge eating in adolescent females of diverse ethnic groups. Ethnic subculture does not appear to protect against the broader sociocultural factors that foster body dissatisfaction among adolescent females. Implications for understanding sociocultural influences on dieting, obesity, and eating disorders are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Body Image
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / ethnology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Offenses
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications