Eating Disorders in Women of Color


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Abstract

This article reviews evidence for ethnic differences in eating disorders, examining problems in extant research that have led to contradictory and confusing results. Problems include use of measures of assessment that have been validated only on White samples, lack of specificity in defining groups of people under study, ethnic differences in clinical presentation, and biases in detecting and reporting eating disorders in women of color. The possibility of different etiological pathways for White women and women of color is discussed, with internalized racism and acculturative stress postulated as contributing to the development of eating disorders in women of color. Suggestions are made to refine research in this area and to enhance treatment approaches in working with women of color.

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