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Keywords:

  • eating disorders;
  • ethnicity;
  • black and white treatment seekers;
  • body dissatisfaction

Abstract

Objective:

This study sought to investigate differences in eating psychopathology between black and white treatment seekers at a specialty eating disorders (EDs) center.

Method:

Participants were drawn from 1680 individuals (n = 32 blacks; n = 1648 whites) who received treatment for an ED at a specialized center between 1979 and 1995, and had completed the EDs Questionnaire. The 32 black participants were matched to 153 white participants for ED diagnosis, year of presentation, and gender.

Results:

The majority of the participants were diagnosed with eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). No black participants met criteria for anorexia nervosa (AN). Black participants reported more body dissatisfaction and a higher percentage fulfilled the obesity criterion compared to white participants. There were few differences in reported history of previous treatment.

Discussion:

Black and white participants with EDs appeared similar in most respects, but AN was notably absent among black participants. In contrast to previous research, body dissatisfaction was surprisingly higher in black than in white participants. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010