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Abstract

Previous research indicates a lower prevalence of eating disorders within black than white populations. The purpose of this investigation was to examine multiple facets of body image and eating behaviors among 104 African-American and white female college students. Four primary domains assessed in this study were: (a) body-image attitudes, (b) body-image perceptions, (c) weight concerns and eating behaviors, and (d) judgments of the thinness-fatness of varying body sizes. As hypothesized, black females held more favorable bodyimage attitudes than whites, on both global and weight-related body-image affects, cognitions, and behaviors. Moreover, compared with whites, black women held body-size ideals that were less thin and more congruent with their current perceived size. Evidence from the novel Perceptions of Fatness Procedure indicates that black women held less strict criteria for perceiving body fatness. Whites reported more frequent eating restraint and sub-clinical eating dyscontrol. Results are discussed in the context of cultural and developmental influences on the body images of African-American and white women in Western society. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.