Similarities and differences between Caucasian and African American college women on eating and dieting expectancies, bulimic symptoms, dietary restraint, and disinhibition




To clarify race differences in eating disorder risk factors and symptoms, by comparing Caucasian and African American samples on the factor structures, intercorrelations, and mean levels of endorsement on a set of risk and symptom measures.


A sample of 300 Caucasian and 200 African American undergraduates completed measures of eating and thinness/dieting expectancies, the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ), and the BULIT.


The factor structures of each measure were invariant across race. Intercorrelations among the measures generally did not differ across race. On the three expectancy measures predictive of symptomatology, two of three scales of the TFEQ, and the BULIT, African American women had lower mean scores than Caucasian women. Socioeconomic status did not account for the results: in this sample, it was unrelated to race and correlated with only 1 of 20 measures.


The factor-based meaning of these measures appears to be consistent across race. The measures correlate similarly across race, suggesting that the risk process may be similar for both races, but African American women endorsed significantly fewer risk factors and fewer symptoms. © 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 32: 326–334, 2002.