College racial context in the development of symptomatic eating disorders in African-American college young adults

Adina E Gociu, Tennessee State University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate potential differences in risk factors of eating disturbances between African American female students from different academic contexts (i.e., African-American female students at a HBCU and African-American female students at a traditional university). More specifically, this study examined if there were significant differences between the two groups in terms of the presence of eating symtomatology, body dissatisfaction, appearance-based social comparison, and the degree of ethnic identity. Participants included a total of 230 female college students, 61 students from a PWI institution and 169 from a HBCU university. Six measures were used, including a demographic questionnaire, EAT-26, Body Shape Questionnaire, Physical Appearance Comparison Scale, Perceived Sociocultural Pressure Scale, and the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Scale. Data analyses included independent samples t-tests, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), and Pearson's correlations. Results from the study indicated that African American female college students at a HBCU school and African-American female college students at a PWI school differ in terms of their degree of ethnic identity. Specifically, the results indicated that it was a significant negative correlation between the degree of ethnic identity and body dissatisfaction among African-American female college students attending a PWI, suggesting that the higher the degree of ethnic identity, the lower the body dissatisfaction. For African American students attending HBCU, the results indicated that it was a significant negative correlation between Affirmation and Belonging, a subscale of ethnic identity instrument, and the perceived pressure to be thin, suggesting that the more affiliation and the more elevated feelings of belonging with one's own ethnic group, the less pressure to be thin is perceived. In addition, results from the study demonstrated that there are no differences between African American female college students at a HBCU school and African- American female college students at a PWI in terms of eating symptomatology, body dissatisfaction, and appearance-based social comparison. These findings are relevant for a better understanding of the risk factors of eating disturbances among African American female college students and these issues should be explored further in future studies.^

Subject Area

African American Studies|Psychology, Social|Women's Studies|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Adina E Gociu, "College racial context in the development of symptomatic eating disorders in African-American college young adults" (2012). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3487677.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3487677

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