Editorial on the Research Topic
Beyond Eating and Body Image Disturbances: Cultural, Transcultural and Accultural Perspectives
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Body dissatisfaction (BD), a constellation of painful thoughts, feelings, and overall negative evaluation a person has about their own weight, body shape, and/or physical appearance, is a high-risk factor for the emergence and maintenance of eating disorders (ED). Greater understanding about the etiology of BD and the mechanisms that tie BD and ED is needed to improve prevention and treatment outcomes.
Interest in eating-disorders research began in the 1960s, grew rapidly through the late 1980s, and continued to snowball though the 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century ( Valderrama-Zurián et al., 2017 ). This research has shaped the idea that BD and ED are the result of Western (Anglo) cultural values present in economically developed countries; and present also in underdeveloped countries among those of high socioeconomic status (SES; Miller and Pumariega, 2001 ; Swami et al., 2010 ). Not surprisingly, BD and ED research has historically been carried out almost exclusively with Anglophone populations. BD and ED research with non-Anglos and people of color began to emerge in the 1990s and progressively grew throughout the beginning of the twenty-first century, but this trend reversed its ascending trajectory and has been declining for over 10 years (Cepeda-Benito, unpublished data). To compensate for this downward, problematic trend, we present seven studies that examine BD and EDs comparatively across or within culturally diverse, non-Anglo samples.
The nationalities or residency of the participants represented in this Research Topic spans six different countries: Argentine ( Moreno-Domínguez et al. ), Brazil ( Chapuis-de-Andrade et al. ), China ( Chen et al. ), Germany ( Wilhelm et al. ), Spain ( Hernández-López et al. ; Moreno-Domínguez et al. ; Ramos et al. ) and the USA ( Akoury et al. ). Two of these studies recruited minorities within economically developed countries: Muslims in Germany ( Wilhelm et al. ), and Asian Americans in USA ( Akoury et al. ).
Two studies used path analytic tools to test the hypothesis that cultural variables play a unique role to predict BD and ED symptoms. Akoury et al. and Moreno-Domínguez et al. replicated the finding that internalization of the thin-ideal partially mediates the relationship between thin awareness and BD ( Warren et al., 2005 ). Akoury et al. also found that heightened acculturative stress predicted disordered eating and fully mediated a significant, inverse relationship between biculturalism and ED symptoms. These findings suggest that the degree to which an individual identifies with both their minority origins and the dominant culture where they live protects against ED symptoms by reducing acculturative stress (the challenge of living in an extraneous culture).
Moreno, S., Warren, C. S., Rodríguez, S., Fernández, M. C., and Cepeda-Benito, A. (2009). Food cravings discriminate between anorexia and bulimia nervosa. implications for “ success” versus “ failure” in dietary restriction. Appetite 52, 588–594. doi: 10. 1016/j. appet. 2009. 01. 011
Moreno-Domínguez, S., Servián-Franco, F., del Paso, G. A. R., and Cepeda-Benito, A. (2019). Images of thin and plus-size models produce opposite effects on women’s body image, body dissatisfaction, and anxiety. Sex Roles 80, 607–616. doi: 10. 1007/s11199-018-0951-3
Swami, V., Frederick, D. A., Aavik, T., Alcalay, L., Allik, J., Anderson, D., et al. (2010). The attractive female body weight and female body dissatisfaction in 2 countries across 10 world regions: results of the international body project I. Personal. Soc. Psychol. Bull. 36, 309–325. doi: 10. 1177/0146167209359702
Valderrama-Zurián, J. C., Aguilar-Moya, R., Cepeda-Benito, A., Melero-Fuentes, D., Navarro-Moreno, M. Á., Gandía-Balaguer, A., et al. (2017). Productivity trends and collaboration patterns: a diachronic study in the eating disorders field. PLoS ONE 12: e0182760. doi: 10. 1371/journal. pone. 0182760
Warren, C. S., Gleaves, D. H., Cepeda-Benito, A., Fernandez Mdel, C., and Rodriguez-Ruiz, S. (2005). Ethnicity as a protective factor against internalization of a thin ideal and body dissatisfaction. Int. J. Eat. Dis. 37, 241–249. doi: 10. 1002/eat. 20102