The development of eating pathology in Chinese-Australian women: Acculturation versus culture clash




Recent research suggests there has been an increase in the incidence of eating pathology among Asian women residing in the West. Two alternate explanations for the development of this eating pathology have been proposed; acculturation versus culture clash. The current study was designed to further examine the influence of acculturation versus culture clash on the development of eating pathology in Chinese-Australian women.


Eighty-one Chinese-Australian women completed a questionnaire investigating their level of eating pathology, perceived sociocultural influences to lose weight, parental overprotection and care, self-perceptions of physical appearance, sociability and global self-worth, and the strength of their ethnic identity.


It was found that, overall, low levels of satisfaction with physical appearance, high levels of parental overprotection, and high levels of perceived pressure from best female friends to lose weight predicted greater eating pathology in both acculturated and traditional women. However, acculturated women who perceived higher levels of pressure from their fathers and best male friends to lose weight and traditional women who experienced higher levels of parental care reported the greatest eating pathology.


The findings suggest that there are both similarities and differences between the risk factors that correlate with eating pathology between acculturated and traditional women. © 2004 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 35: 579–588, 2004.