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Keywords:

  • puberty;
  • thin ideal;
  • ethnicity;
  • body image

Abstract

Objective

This study examined the effects of puberty and ethnicity on awareness and internalization of the thin ideal.

Method

Fourth and fifth-grade girls (N = 67) and their parents (N = 67) completed questionnaires assessing demographic variables, eating pathology, pubertal development, and awareness and internalization of the thin ideal.

Results

Girls in pre/early puberty did not differ significantly from girls in mid/late puberty on awareness of the thin ideal; however, more developed girls had significantly greater internalization of the thin ideal. Caucasian and non-Caucasian girls also did not differ on awareness of the thin ideal, but non-Caucasian girls reported greater internalization. No significant interactions between race and puberty existed on the dependent variables.

Discussion

Factors specifically related to puberty seem to be key to girls' development of disordered eating attitudes. The effect of puberty on increased internalization of the thin ideal cannot be explained by increased age or awareness of the thin ideal. © 2003 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 33: 465–467, 2003.