Disordered Eating Among Asian American College Women: A Racially Expanded Model of Objectification Theory

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Abstract

Objectification theory has been applied to understand disordered eating among college women. A recent extension of objectification theory (Moradi, 2010) conceptualizes racism as a socialization experience that shapes women of color’s objectification experiences, yet limited research has examined this theoretical assertion. The present study proposed and examined a racially expanded model of objectification theory that postulated perceived racial discrimination, perpetual foreigner racism, and racial/ethnic teasing as correlates of Asian American college women’s (N = 516) self-objectification processes and eating disorder symptomatology. Perceived racial discrimination, perpetual foreigner racism, and racial/ethnic teasing were indirectly associated with eating disordered symptomatology through self-objectification processes of internalization of media ideals of beauty (media internalization), body surveillance, and body shame. Results support the inclusion of racial stressors as contexts of objectification for Asian American women. The present findings also underscore perceived racial discrimination, racial/ethnic teasing, and perpetual foreigner racism as group-specific risk factors with major theoretical, empirical, and clinical relevance to eating disorder research and treatment with Asian American college women.

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