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The Impact of Acculturation on the Development of Eating Disorders in African American Females


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AMCHA 2008 Conference Presentation

Published in: Health & Medicine
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The Impact of Acculturation on the Development of Eating Disorders in African American Females

  1. 1. presented by: Devona M. Stalnaker, LPC, NCC, BCPC
  2. 2. Opening Comments <ul><li>Activity— The Truth Statement </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding culture and perception </li></ul><ul><li>“ Truth is based on culturally learned assumptions.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Pederson, 2000) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Discussion Questions <ul><li>Is there a significant relationship between level of acculturation & potential risk for or manifestation of eating disorders? </li></ul><ul><li>Is acculturation affected by socioeconomic status (SES)? </li></ul><ul><li>Are African American adolescents and women of lower SES & lower acculturation also at risk for developing eating disorders? </li></ul><ul><li>What factors contribute to the development of eating disorders in African American females? </li></ul><ul><li>What interventions and treatment options should be employed to address eating disorders in African American adolescents and women? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Learning Objectives <ul><li>To examine factors contributing to the etiology of eating disorders in African American females ages 15-25. </li></ul><ul><li>To identify risk factors related to the development of eating disorders in the specified population. </li></ul><ul><li>To provide additional knowledge and information to mental health professionals regarding screening and treatment options. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key Concepts <ul><li>Acculturation : the adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding/dominant culture by the subordinate culture. </li></ul><ul><li>At-risk : being endangered for injury or loss from exposure or the degree of probability of such injury/loss </li></ul><ul><li>Eating Disorder : a condition having met the established DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, or Eating Disorder NOS. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Key Concepts, continued <ul><li>Body Image : an individual’s subjective concept of his/her physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others. </li></ul><ul><li>Body Dissatisfaction : the degree to which an individual is displeased with his/her physical appearance. </li></ul><ul><li>Standard of Beauty : a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment set forth by authority or by general consent. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Statistics— Female Body Image & Dissatisfaction <ul><li>A national study conducted by Ann Kearney-Cook, Cincinnati Psychological Institute found: </li></ul><ul><li>By age 12, girls have viewed approximately 77,546 commercials </li></ul><ul><li>56% of girls see/believe celebrities have to be perfect </li></ul><ul><li>77% would trade bodies with a celebrity </li></ul><ul><li>90% would change at least one thing about their appearances </li></ul><ul><li>25% consider plastic surgery </li></ul><ul><li>More than 40% of girls only see flaws when they look in the mirror </li></ul><ul><li>58% describe themselves in negative terms </li></ul><ul><li>4 in 10 girls engage in unhealthy eating habits </li></ul>
  8. 8. Statistics—Plastic Surgery <ul><li>In 2005, there were 11.5 million plastic surgery procedures—surgical (19%) and nonsurgical (81%) </li></ul><ul><li>Since 1997, there has been a 444% increase in cosmetic procedures (surgical procedures up by 119%; nonsurgical up by 726%) </li></ul><ul><li>The top 5 surgical procedures are: lipoplasty, breast augmentation, blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, and abdominoplasty. </li></ul><ul><li>The top 5 nonsurgical procedures are: Botox, laser hair removal, hyaluronic acid, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. </li></ul><ul><li>Cosmetic procedures for African American women increased by 67% between 2004 and 2005. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Research says… <ul><li>Research indicates that there is a positive correlation between level of acculturation and the development of eating disorders in African American females; specifically, as acculturation into the dominant culture increases, there is also an increased risk and manifestation of eating disorders in African American females. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Standard of Beauty <ul><li>“ Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” </li></ul><ul><li>--Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, 1878 </li></ul>
  11. 11. Evolution of Standard of Beauty over the past five decades <ul><li>195o’s – The Age of the Blonde Bombshell </li></ul>
  12. 12. Evolution of Standard of Beauty over the past five decades, continued <ul><li>1960’s – Thin is In </li></ul>
  13. 13. Evolution of Standard of Beauty over the past five decades, continued <ul><li>1970’s – The All-American Girls </li></ul>
  14. 14. Evolution of Standard of Beauty over the past five decades, continued <ul><li>1980’s – Advent of the Supermodel </li></ul>
  15. 15. Evolution of Standard of Beauty over the past five decades, continued <ul><li>1990’s – The Dawn of Diversity </li></ul>
  16. 16. Evolution of Standard of Beauty over the past five decades, continued <ul><li>2000’s – Multicultural Invasion </li></ul>
  17. 17. Standard of Beauty, continued <ul><li>It is a widely held belief that African American women are insulated from the risk of developing eating disorders due to their cultural standard of beauty. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Standard of Beauty, continued <ul><li>However, with acculturation and a societal focus on multiculturalism and diversity, there has been a shift in the mainstream standard of beauty to an amalgamation of concepts from both dominant and subculture. </li></ul><ul><li>This shift appears to have contributed to an increased risk and/or manifestation of disordered eating among African American females. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Understanding Racial/Cultural Identity Development <ul><li>Racial/Cultural Identity (R/CID) Model </li></ul><ul><li>(Atkinson, Morten, & Sue (1989) </li></ul><ul><li>Conformity </li></ul><ul><li>Dissonance </li></ul><ul><li>Resistance and Immersion </li></ul><ul><li>Introspection </li></ul><ul><li>Integrative Awareness </li></ul><ul><li>African American adolescents and women appear to be most at risk during the first three stages of racial/identity development </li></ul>
  20. 20. Risk Factors <ul><li>General risk factors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drive for thinness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Body dissatisfaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abnormal eating patterns/habits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Additional race and culture specific risk factors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simultaneous membership to two oppressed demographic-identity groups—gender and race. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential intracultural issues of oppression, especially for African American women of darker complexion. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Implications for Mental Health Professionals <ul><li>As clinicians, practitioners and researchers, there must be a change in thought and perception regarding African American females and the manifestation of eating disorders. </li></ul><ul><li>As a society, there must be an examination of the collective consciousness and standard of beauty concept, and the influence of media and culture on maladaptive eating habits and behavioral patterns. </li></ul>
  22. 22. General Applications of Research <ul><li>Develop education, early intervention and prevention programs to implement in schools for students and parents </li></ul><ul><li>Improve identification methods (screening, diagnostic and referral) </li></ul><ul><li>Develop treatment programs and strategies to address specific needs of African American teens and women </li></ul><ul><li>Develop continuing education programs or seminars to train practitioners and disseminate information. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Practical Applications <ul><li>Prevention programming should include emphasis on individual cultural/racial identity development. </li></ul><ul><li>Effective psychosocial prevention programming will be focused on reduction of risk factors and enhancement of protective factors, but also emphasize individual racial/cultural identity development. </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate a critical evaluation of current social norms and beliefs, encourage personal value clarification, and enhance individual resilience within a context of cultural pride. </li></ul>
  24. 24. African American Females & Eating Disorders— Applications for Mental Health Professionals <ul><li>Understand how a client’s level of acculturation to her dominant culture influences her beliefs regarding food and physical appearance. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand culture-specific themes in the lives of African American women (i.e. multiple roles, spirituality, family influence). </li></ul><ul><li>Assess the degree to which African American female clients have internalized racial oppression. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the relationship between food and coping strategies. </li></ul>
  25. 25. African American Females & Eating Disorders— Applications for School Counselors <ul><li>Facilitate girls’ cognitive development by teaching them critical thinking skills needed to question sociocultural norms regarding the standard of beauty. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop and promote health workshops that incorporate culturally relevant activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize and balance girls’ need to feel accepted and to seek peer approval with encouragement to formulate their own beliefs and values within the context of racial/cultural identity development. </li></ul><ul><li>Prevention programs should incorporate media literacy, critical thinking skills, life skills, and esteem building with emphasis on specific cultural issues and needs. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Review of Current Literature <ul><li>Caldwell, Brownell, & Wilfley (1996). Relationship of weight, body dissatisfaction and self-esteem in African American and White Female dieters. </li></ul><ul><li>Choate (2007). Counseling adolescent girls for body image resilience: strategies for school counselors. </li></ul><ul><li>Dacosta & Wilson (1996). Food preferences and eating attitudes in three generations of Black and White women. </li></ul><ul><li>James, Phelps, & Bross (2001). Body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, and self esteem in African American college females. </li></ul><ul><li>Lester & Petrie (1998). Physical, psychological and societal correlates of bulimic symptomatology among African American college women. </li></ul><ul><li>Mulholland & Mintz (2001). Prevalence of eating disorders among African American women. </li></ul><ul><li>Phinney (1990). Ethnic identity in adolescents and adults: Review of literature. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Review of Current Literature, continued <ul><li>Pike et al (2001). A comparison of Black and White women with binge eating disorder. </li></ul><ul><li>Striegel-Moore et al (2003). Eating disorders in White and Black women. </li></ul><ul><li>Sue & Sue (1999). Counseling the culturally different: theory and practice, 3 rd ed. </li></ul><ul><li>Talleyrand (2006). Potential stressors contributing to eating disorder symptoms in African American women: implications for mental health counselors. </li></ul><ul><li>Tyler (2003). A true picture of eating disorders among African American women: A review of literature. </li></ul><ul><li>Williamson (1998). Eating disorders and the cultural forces behind the drive for thinness: are African American women really protected? </li></ul><ul><li>Yanovski (2000). Eating disorders, race, and mythology. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Concluding Comments <ul><li>Wrap-Up </li></ul><ul><li>Questions and Answers </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you for coming!!! </li></ul>