Sociocultural factors in the development of anorexia nervosa in a black woman

Authors

  • Ellen M.C. Willemsen MD,

    1. Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands
    2. Robert Fleury Foundation, Leidschendam, The Netherlands
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  • Hans W. Hoek MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
    3. Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, New York
    • Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, Mangostraat 15, 2552 KS The Hague, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Background

In an earlier study, we found that anorexia nervosa (AN) does not occur among Black women on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

Method

A case report is presented of a Black Antillean woman with AN, who was referred to a center for eating disorders in The Netherlands. In Curaçao, our patient succeeded in gaining weight to become more attractive. Due to subsequent problems in the relationship with her partner, she deliberately lost weight to become less attractive.

Results

After immigrating to The Netherlands, she adopted the Western cultural ideal of thinness and developed AN.

Conclusion

This case illustrates the role and possible effects of sociocultural factors in the development of AN. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006

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