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Keywords:

  • cultural;
  • Korea;
  • Westernization

Abstract

Objective:

The presence of eating disorders in non-Western cultures is often attributed to the export of Western ideals. This study examines this hypothesis by comparing disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in Korean women with differing levels of exposure to Western culture.

Method:

Second-generation Korean-Americans (n = 167) and Korean immigrants (n = 37) completed the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), and data from native Koreans (n = 937) were obtained from a previous epidemiological study, using a Korean-translated version of the EAT-26 (K-EAT-26). Korean-American and immigrant women completed the Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA).

Results:

Korean-American women scored significantly lower on the EAT-26 than Korean immigrants and native Koreans, who did not differ from each other. Korean-Americans were more Western-oriented than Korean immigrants, and acculturation levels were not correlated with EAT-26 scores in either group.

Conclusion:

This study supports the importance of native cultural factors in the development of eating disorders in non-Western contexts. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006