Title

Cultural, familial and individual correlates of eating pathology and extreme weight loss behaviours among Greek and Italian second-generation immigrant women.

Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Thomas, Cheryl D.,

Keywords

Psychology, Clinical.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Previous research in the field of cross-cultural eating disorders suggests that eating pathology may be more prevalent among immigrant women than women in their country of origin or their new country of residence. The purpose of this study was to identify the variables that predict eating pathology and extreme weight loss behaviours among Greek and Italian second-generation immigrant women. A second goal was to determine how culture-change was related to eating pathology by comparing several models of acculturation. 110 Greek and Italian women were recruited through several means including the introductory psychology participant pool, cultural organizations and snowball sampling methods. Administration of a questionnaire package occurred either in person, by mail or on a web page. Based on EAT-26 scores, 20 women were considered at risk for an eating disorder. Crash dieting and fasting were the most common extreme weight loss behaviours reported (43% of the sample endorsed each), followed by the use of appetite suppressants (20%), diuretics (18%), laxatives (16%) and vomiting (10%). General dissatisfaction and internalization of Western values of thinness were found to be predictive of eating pathology. Family conflict was positively correlated with eating pathology, however, it did not account for unique variance in eating pathology once general dissatisfaction and internalization of Western values of thinness were taken into account. Body Mass Index (BMI) was found to be predictive of extreme weight loss behaviours, particularly crash dieting. This relationship is discussed in the context of research that identifies dieting as a strong causal risk factor for eating pathology (Stice, 2001). No direct relationships were found between eating pathology and any of the acculturation models tested, however, acculturation strategies were correlated with family conflict. Finally, results suggest that other variables, such as perfectionism and parental enmeshment, have complex relationships with variables that predict eating pathology and need to be investigated further. The findings are discussed in the context of theoretical, research and clinical implications.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .G45. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-07, Section: B, page: 3706. Adviser: Cheryl D. Thomas. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.