Identifying Central Symptoms of Eating Disorders Among Ethnic and Racial Minority Women

Marisol Perez, Victoria Perko, Kimberly Y. Yu, Juan C. Hernandez, Tara K. Ohrt, Jenna Stadheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Experiencing eating disorder symptoms is associated with maladaptive outcomes and impairment in functioning. A paucity of research exists examining eating disorder symptoms among ethnic/racial minority women. Using a network analysis, we evaluated core symptoms of eating disorder psychopathology and the degree of association between eating disorder symptoms in a sample of ethnic/racial minority women. Participants were 296 Black, 261 Hispanic, and 261 Asian American women recruited across the United States to complete an online survey. Inclusionary criteria yielded a sample with high eating disorder psychopathology. The Network Comparison Test was used to identify differences in networks between groups and yielded no significant differences between the three ethnic/racial groups. Thus, one network analysis on the entire sample was conducted in the main analyses. However, separate group analyses are presented in the online supplemental materials. Consistent with the transdiagnostic theory of eating disorders, weight concerns (i.e., strong desire to lose weight and fear of weight gain) emerged as central symptoms. Discrepant from findings with predominantly White samples, purging emerged as a central symptom as well, while shape concerns did not. Interestingly, having to weigh oneself weekly, having a flat stomach, fasting, and compulsive exercising were on the periphery of the network. Findings are discussed in terms of clinical implications and comparative similarities and differences when addressing the existing literature

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-760
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume130
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Latina
  • eating disorders
  • network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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