Acculturation, body image, and eating behaviours in Muslim-Australian women

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Abstract

The relationship between western acculturation, body dissatisfaction, and eating behaviours was examined in a sample of 101 Muslim-Australian women between 18 and 44 years of age (M=27.3, SD=7.5). A questionnaire was completed containing measures of cultural identification (heritage and mainstream), body dissatisfaction and disordered eating (dietary control, bingeing and purging), internalization of the thin ideal, and self-esteem. A series of path analyses identified significant positive relationships between mainstream identification and the measures of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating that were mediated by thin-ideal internalization. Path analyses also identified significant negative relationships between heritage identification and the measures of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating that were mediated by self-esteem. These results are indicative of the potential risks to body image incurred by women who adopt Western values, and of the benefits in retaining heritage cultural values that promote a positive self image.

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