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ARE ALL MINORITY WOMEN EQUALLY BUFFERED FROM NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE? INTRA-ETHNIC MODERATORS OF THE BUFFERING HYPOTHESIS

Authors


  • Natalie J. Sabik and Elizabeth R. Cole, Departments of Women's Studies and Psychology, University of Michigan; L. Monique Ward, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan.

  • We are grateful to Deborah Keller-Cohen for helpful feedback on the manuscript and Brady West for assistance with the statistical analyses.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Natalie J. Sabik, University of Michigan Women's Studies Program, 204 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290. E-mail: sabik@umich.edu

Abstract

Body dissatisfaction is normative among European American women, and involvement with predominant culture or linking self-worth to weight may intensify the association between body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness for women of color. Our study investigated whether orientation to other ethnic groups (Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure) and weight-based contingency of self-worth moderate the relationship between body satisfaction and drive for thinness (Eating Disorder Inventory) among college-age African American, Asian American, and European American women. Survey responses from undergraduates (N = 905) were collected, and multiple regression analyses showed that, for African Americans, appearance esteem was positively associated with drive for thinness among those who defined their self-worth as contingent on weight or who identified with ethnic outgroups. Appearance esteem was independently associated with drive for thinness among Asian Americans and European Americans, but no moderation was found. European American women who define self-worth as contingent on weight were higher in drive for thinness, regardless of their body mass index or appearance esteem. Identifying the mechanisms through which some women may be at risk for internalizing restrictive body ideals is key for understanding experiences of the body for diverse women.

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