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Eating Disorders among Latinas: Examining the Applicability of Objectification Theory

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EATING DISORDERS AMONG LATINAS: EXAMINING THE APPLICABILITY OF OBJECTIFICATION THEORY By GLORIA M. MONTES DE OCA A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Gloria M. Montes de Oca

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This document is dedicated to my two mamis, Hilaria and Wilma Garcia, who could not witness this accomplishment personally, though they surely witnessed it in spirit.

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, and colleagues for all their support and encouragement. I am very grateful to several friends that helped me to collect data by allowing me access to their resources and contacts. I especially want to thank Maricela Alvarado, who helped me collect the bulk of the data for this project. I would also like to acknowledge my dissertation committee, a group of very strong and accomplished academic women that are an inspiration. I am particularly grateful to my dissertation committee chair, Bonnie Moradi, Ph.D., who was very helpful by providing me positive and constructive feedback throughout this process.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................ix CHAPTERS 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE............................................................................10 Objectification Theory: A Sociocultura l Explanation for Eating Disorders..............12 Empirical Research on Objectification Theory..........................................................14 Applying Objectificatio n Theory to Latinas...............................................................26 Acculturation and Internaliz ation of Cultural Beauty Standards Among Latinas......28 Purpose of the Present Study......................................................................................38 3 METHOD...................................................................................................................40 Participants.................................................................................................................40 Procedure....................................................................................................................42 Measures.....................................................................................................................43 Self-Objectification.............................................................................................44 Body Shame.........................................................................................................46 Eating Disorder Symptoms..................................................................................49 Internalization of Cultural Beauty Standards......................................................50 Acculturation.......................................................................................................51 Acculturative Stress.............................................................................................52 Demographics......................................................................................................53 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................54 Preliminary Analyses..................................................................................................54 Descriptive Statistics..................................................................................................55 Interrelations Among Variables of Interest................................................................57

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vi Hypothesis 1........................................................................................................57 Hypothesis 2........................................................................................................57 Hypothesis 3........................................................................................................58 Hypothesis 4........................................................................................................58 Path Analyses..............................................................................................................59 Test of Originally Hypothesized Model..............................................................59 Modified Model Including Acculturative Stress.................................................60 Testing Significance of Mediations.....................................................................61 Summary of Findings..........................................................................................62 5 DISCUSSION.............................................................................................................64 Limitations and Future Directions..............................................................................70 Implications for Practice.............................................................................................73 APPENDIX. DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONS.................................................................74 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................76 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................84

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vii TABLE Table page 4-1. Summary statistics and partial correlations among variables of interest with age and BMI controlled..................................................................................................63

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viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1. Hypothesized model of objectification theory and acculturation links to eating disorder symptom in Latinas.....................................................................................39 4-1. Model 1, controlling for BMI and age, with standardized path coefficients shown........................................................................................................................63 4-2. Model 2, controlling for BMI and age, with standardized path coefficients............63

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ix Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EATING DISORDERS AMONG LATINAS: EXAMINING THE APPLICABILITY OF OBJECTIFICATION THEORY By Gloria M. Montes de Oca December 2005 Chair: Bonnie Moradi Major Department: Psychology This study evaluated a model of objectification theory and other sociocultural variables as they apply to understanding eating disorder symptoms among Latina women. Objectification theory proposes that because women are embedded within sexually objectifying cultural contexts, they learn to se lf-objectify, or view themselves from an outsiders perspective as objects. Self-objectification then purportedly leads to increased body shame and vulnerability to eating disorder symptomatology as well as other mental health concerns in women. Prior research on eating disorder symptoms among Latinas indicates that acculturation, acculturative stress, and internalization of cultural standards of beauty that promote thinness in women may be additional important variables in understanding eating disorder symptomatolgy among Latinas. This study examined potential direct and indirect links among acculturation, acculturative stress, internalization of cultural beauty standard s, self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms in a sample of 112 Latinas.

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x Path analyses revealed that internaliza tion of cultural beauty standards, selfobjectification, acculturative stress, and body shame all were related uniquely and significantly to eating disorder symptoms. In addition, self-objectification and body shame both partially mediated the relation between internalization of cultural beauty standards and eating disorder symptoms. Body shame also partially mediated the link between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms. Although no relationship was found between acculturation and any of the other variables of interest, acculturative stress was related significantly and uniquely to both body shame and eating disorder symptoms. The link from acculturative stress to eating disorder symptoms was also partially mediated by body shame. The results indicated that objectification theory, along with the relevant variables of internalization of cultural beauty standards and acculturative stress, may be applied to understand eating disorder symptoms among Latinas. Implications of findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Eating disorders are significantly more prevalent among women than men, as well as among Western and industrialized nations than less developed nations (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000; Pate Pumariega, Hester, & Garner, 1992), though they have recently been on the rise in nonWestern, newly industrialized nations (Gordon, 2001). There is evidence that these gender and societal differences may be due to cultural factors, such as Western cultural standards that promote thinness as ideal beauty in women (Crandall & Martinez 1996; Stice, 1994; Vandereycken & Hoek, 1992). In a review of the literature on the etiology of ea ting disorders, Striegel-Moore and Cachelin (2001) described sociocultural contexts, including the thin beauty ideal and gender roles, as major risk factors for developing eating disorders. Additionally, an extensive body of research indicates that the media may represent the most notable socializing agent for this cultural beauty ideal (Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002; Harrison & Cantor, 1997). Research also suggests that body dissatisfaction, a diagnostic criterion for both anorexia and bulimia (APA), is an integral part of womens socialization (Henderson-King & Henderson-King, 1997; Stice). More specifically, this socialization results in a normative discontent among women about their bodies (Rodin, Silberstein, & StriegelMoore, 1984). Objectification theory, a sociocultural model developed by Fredrickson and Roberts (1997), provides a useful framework for understanding how sociocultural factors and gender socialization are linked to eating disorder symptomatology. The model can be

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2 summarized as follows. Sexual objectification, which permeates the sociocultural contexts in which women live, leads to selfobjectification, or viewing oneself from an outsiders perspective. Self-objectification in turn leads to increases in appearance anxiety, anxiety about safety, and body shame over not meeting cultural beauty standards. These psychological and emotional consequences of self-objectification result in increased depressive and anxiety disorders, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders. Self-objectification is described as both a trait (i.e., experienced more chronically by some women than others) and a state (i.e., more likely to occur in certain situations than in others). Empirical support has accumulated for objectification theory as it explains eating disorders in samples of primarily White/European American women. For example, in a study of the emotional consequences of se lf-objectification, Miner-Rubino, Twenge, and Fredrickson (2002) found that self-objectif ication predicted body shame and depression incrementally, beyond what was predicted by body dissatisfaction and other personality variables. In another study, Fredrickson, R oberts, Noll, Quinn, and Twenge (1998) found individual differences in self-objectification, lending support to the concept of trait selfobjectification. They also found that certain situations (e.g., trying on a swimsuit versus a sweater) are more likely to trigger self-obj ectification, supporting the existence of state self-objectification. Furthermore, they found that women in their sample were significantly more likely than men to self-objectify and to experience greater body shame when state self-objectification was triggered experimentally (i.e., trying on a swimsuit in front of a full length mirror). Body shame, resulting form the experimental condition of

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3 induced state self-objectification, in turn was predictive of restrained eating for women in the study. Several other studies found support for a link between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms, both directly and indirectly through the mediating role of body shame (Greenleaf, 2005; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). For example, Tiggeman and Slater found that former ballet dancers scored higher on trait self-objectification, self -surveillance, and eating disorder symptoms than did non-dancers. Assuming that the ballet culture is one in which women are more likely to be objectified and scrutinized, these results supported the notion that women exposed to an intensely objectifying cultural context (i.e., ballet culture) are more likely to self-objectify than those not exposed to such a context. Similarly, in a study of the relationship of media exposure to eating beha viors, Morry and Staska (2001) found that, among the women in their sample, increased exposure to beauty magazines, a manifestation of an objectifying cultural context, was significantly positively associated with self-objectification and eating disorder behaviors. However, these relationships were fully mediated by level of internalization of cu ltural beauty standards of thinness as ideal. Their results therefore suggested that exposure to beauty magazines is translated into selfobjectification and eating problems through internalization of these cultural beauty standards. Another recent study conducted by Moradi, Dirks, and Matteson (2005) also highlighted the important additional role of internalization of cultural beauty standards for mediating the relationship between sexually objectifying cultural experiences and self-objectification. Their path analytic results showed significant positive links among

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4 reported experiences of sexual objectification, internalization of cultural beauty standards, self-objectification as indicated by body surveillance, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms. Moradi et al. also found se veral mediator effects. Internalization of cultural beauty standards mediated the link of reported experiences of sexual objectification to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms. In addition, self-objectification also mediated the link of reported sexual objectification experiences to body shame. Similar to other studies, the link between self-objectification an eating disorder symptomatology was also partially mediated by body shame. Overall, data suggest that objectification theory is useful in explaining the high prevalence rates of body shame and eating disorders among women of White/European American background. Fredrickson and Robert s (1997) recognized, however, that their theory was based on research conducted primarily on White/European American women. They pointed out that this was mainly due to the very limited number of cross-cultural studies on mental health issues in women. The lack of research on eating disorders among women of color may be due in part to the fact that eating disorders have historically been considered primarily a problem among young, middle-class, White/European American women (Thompson, 1992). This impression has begun to change, however, with increased reports of eating disorders among women of color. For example, one recent study comparing Asian American, African American, Latina, and White/European American women found all groups of women were equally likely to exhibit symptoms of bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating disorder (Cachelin, Veisel, Barzegarnazari, & Striegel-Moore, 2000). Additionally, eating disorder prevalence rates have been on the rise since the early 1990s in non-Western

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5 societies, such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which have not historically had significant eating disorder rates (Gordon, 2001). Consistent with the increasing prevalence of eating disorders, Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) surmised that all women experience self-objectification because all women are presumably socialized within a sexually objectifying cultural context. No extant study, however, has attempted to examine the applicability of objectification theory for explaining eating disorders in wo men of ethnic or racial backgrounds other than White/European American. As a step toward addressing this gap in the literature, the present study will focus on examining the propositions of objectification theory among Latinas. Clearly such a study must attend also to the unique experiences of Latinas and incorporate in the examination of objectification theory additional constructs that have been linked with eating disorder related variables for Latinas. Crago, Shisslak, and Estes (1996) reviewed the literature on eating disorders among women of color and noted a paucity of studies specifically examining eating disorders among Latinas. Their review of the few extant studies on Latinas suggested that Latinas are as likely as White/European American women to develop eating disorders. Further, some studies have found that Latinas have greater body dissatisfaction in comparison to other women of color (Altabe, 1998; Fitzgibbon et al., 1998). According to the review by Crago et al. (1996), one of the greatest risk factors among women of color for developing eating disorders is identifying with White, middle-class cultural values. Indeed, several studies found a relationship between acculturation and eating disorders. For example, Cachelin et al. (2000) found that increased acculturation to U.S. culture was associated with increased eating problems. They also found that, among those who met criteria for

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6 eating disorders, women who were less acculturated were less likely to have received treatment. In another study, Pumariega (1986) compared the eating attitudes of Latina and White/European American adolescent girls. Although Latina girls attitudes about eating were generally comparable to those of White/European American girls, there was a significant positive correlation between greater acculturation and eating disorder symptoms. Similarly, Franko and Herrera (1997) found Guatemalan American women to be significantly less likely to report body image and eating problems than White/European American women in their sample. However, among the Guatemalan American women, those with increased acculturation levels were significantly more likely to report body dissatisfaction than those who were less acculturated. Whereas the aforementioned studies focused on general acculturation, Lester and Petrie (1995) examined the more specific variable of endorsement of U.S. sociocultural values about attractiveness along with general acculturation. They found that subscribing to U.S. sociocultural values about attractiveness was related to bulimic symptoms, although general acculturation was not. Their results suggested that Latinas vulnerabilities to eating disorders are linked with internalization of U.S. cultural beauty standards, a more specific aspect of the general process of acculturation. The acculturation process has been described as one that is complex and multidimensional (Berry, 2003). Therefore, assessing acculturation only as a general dimension may not fully capture its relationship to eating disturbance. It may be that general acculturation is linked with eating disorder related variables through its link with internalization of the dominant cultural beauty standards.

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7 Another important variable that may be linked to eating disorders among Latinas is acculturative stress. Acculturative stress has been described as a psychological outcome that occurs during the acculturation process when cultural norms from the host culture are in conflict with the norms of the culture of origin (Berry, 2003). If the acculturating individual interprets this conflict as particularly difficult to surmount and problematic to his or her self-concept, acculturative stress may be experienced. This stress reaction often makes acculturation, or adjustment to the host culture, a difficult and lengthy process. According to one review of the literature on acculturation, acculturative stress has been associated with a persons internal coping resources, available support resources, and the types of stressors experienced (Roysircar-Sodowsky & Virgil Maestas, 2000). Furthermore, it is not considered an inevitable aspect of acculturation and supportive extended family networks can serve a protective role against it (Berry; Balls Organista, Organista, & Kurasaki, 2003). Whether or not one experiences acculturative stress may be dependent on several factors. Increased acculturative stress has been associated with earlier generation level in the U.S. (Padilla, Wagatsuma, & Lindholm, 1985), immigrating to the U.S. after about age 14 (Padilla, Alvarez, & Lindholm, 1986), low self-esteem (Padilla et al., 1985), lower career self-efficacy (Miranda & Umhoefer, 1998), and depression and anxiety (Hovey & Magana, 2000). A study conducted by Chamorro and Flor es-Ortiz (2000) provided indirect support for a link between acculturative stress and eating disturbances. These authors examined the relationship between general acculturation to U.S. culture and eating attitudes among five generations of Mexican American women. Their findings indicated not only that increased acculturation was significantly related to increased eating

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8 disturbance, but also that this associa tion was strongest among the second-generation women, who were born in the U.S. to parents who had immigrated from a Hispanic country. One interpretation of this may be that the second-generation Latinas were particularly susceptible to experiencing acculturative stress due to their recent contact with some American sociocultural norms, such as cultural beauty standards. Attempting to incorporate these norms while simultaneously trying to retain the norms associated with their culture of origin may produce c onflict in the form of acculturative stress among some first and second generation Latinas in their quest to adapt to a host culture. Only one study has evaluated directly the relationship between acculturative stress and eating disorder symptoms among Latinas and other women of ethnically diverse backgrounds. Perez, Voelz, Pettit, and Joiner (2002) found that increased body dissatisfaction, acculturative stress, and the interaction between the two were significant predictors of increased bulimic symptoms. Among those scoring high on acculturative stress, higher levels of body dissatisfaction were related to higher levels of bulimic symptoms. Among those scoring low on acculturative stress, the relationship between body dissatisfaction and bulimic symptoms was weak and did not reach significance. Therefore, acculturative stress appears to influence the relationship between body dissatisfaction and bulimic symptoms among Latinas and other women of color. Although there is little research on the impact of acculturative stress on eating disorder symptoms, these results and other research linking acculturative stress to mental health problems (Hovey & Magaa, 2000; Miranda & Umhoefer, 1998; Padilla et al., 1985), suggest that the relationship between acculturative stress and eating disorders in Latinas should be further explored.

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9 In summary, several interrelated variables seem to be associated with eating disorders among Latinas. These include acculturative stress, internalization of cultural beauty standards, and acculturation through its relationship to this internalization. Objectification theory offers a practical sociocultural model for understanding the development of eating disorders that, with the addition of these culturally relevant variables, may be applicable to Latinas. Thus, the present study integrates the empirically supported propositions of objectification theory with extant research on eating disorders among Latinas to examine a culturally appropriate version of objectification theory for Latinas. More specifically, this study will examine empirically a model that assesses direct and indirect (i.e., mediated) links of acculturation, internalization of cultural standards of beauty, self-objectification, and body shame to eating disorder symptomatology. In addition, the role of acculturative stress in the model will be explored. Given the limited research on the role of acculturative stress in eating disorder symptomatology among Latinas, however, examination of the role of acculturative stress in the model will be strictly exploratory. The following chapter will include a thorough description of the overall model for Latinas, including a description of objectification theory, the research supporting it, and the variables that may be added for applying the theory to Latinas. The following chapter will also provide a description of the purpose and hypotheses for the current study.

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10 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE It is well documented that women are significantly more likely than men to be diagnosed with eating disorders (APA, 2000). Extant literature suggests that the prevalence and development of eating disorders are in part rooted in sociocultural contexts, such as Western cultural standards, that promote thinness as ideal beauty in women (Striegel-Moore & Cachelin, 2001; Vandereycken & Hoek, 1992). For example, in a comprehensive review of the literature on bulimia, Stice (1994) cited extensive research evidence suggesting that sociocultural pressures may affect the development and maintenance of bulimia. He described several trends that may promote thin ideal images for women, including increasingly thinner women in the media over the past few decades, increasing numbers of dieting articles in womens magazines, and steadily increasing rates of eating disorders among women from the 1960s through the 1990s. A sociocultural model is also supported by evidence that eating disorders remain much more prevalent among Western and industrialized nations, although incidence rates have increased all over the world in recent decades (Gordon, 2001; Pate et al., 1992). According to Gordon (2001), the steadily increasing eating disorder rates among women in U.S. and Western European societies from the 1960s through the 1990s coincided with shifts in female gender roles related to increasing participation in employment and higher education. He noted that while the rates have leveled off in the U.S., they have been steadily increasing since the 1990s in newly emerging industrialized societies, such as Japan, China, Mexico, and Argentina. Gordon described

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11 the rise of eating disorders as a modern epidemic that coincides with increasing consumerism within societies that emphasize personal achievement and satisfaction. He proposed that eating disorder rates reflect societal role conflicts for women. These struggles between traditional female roles focusing on submissiveness and newly emerging roles focusing on achievement may be associated with the development of eating disorders and the larger social problem of body dissatisfaction. Rodin et al. (1984) developed the concept of normative discontent to describe the pervasive dissatisfaction with ones body that exists among women in U.S. society. According to these scholars, American cultural standards promote an unrealistic ideal of thinness for women. This unattainable ideal results in body dissatisfaction, which inevitably leads to low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and depression in women. Indeed, while body dissatisfaction has been established as a diagnostic criterion for both anorexia and bulimia nervosa (APA, 2000), several studies found body image concerns among women without diagnosed eating disorders (Cash & Henry, 1995; Demarest & Allen, 2000; Irving, 1990; Thompson & Psaltis, 1988). The normative nature of body dissatisfaction is consistent with the notion that body dissatisfaction is an aspect of gender socialization. The research literature on media exposure to thin models further supports a sociocultural perspective of eating disorders. Groesz et al. (2002) conducted a metaanalysis of 25 studies on the effects of experimental manipulations of the thin beauty ideal, through media exposure, on womens body images. They calculated 43 effect sizes and examined the main effects of mass media images of the thin ideal as well as the moderating effects of premorbid body image problems, age, number of stimulus

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12 presentations, and type of research design. Results indicated that body satisfaction was significantly more negatively affected by viewing thin media images than by viewing other types of media, including average size models, overweight models, or inanimate objects. This supports the notion that cultural context, in the form of mass media portrayals of thin ideals, affects body dissatisfaction. Thus, a substantial body of literature points to sociocultural roots of eating disorders. Objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) provides a framework for understanding how this sociocultural context results in eating disorders. Objectification Theory: A Sociocultural Explanation for Eating Disorders Objectification theory, proposed by Fredrickson and Roberts (1997), has made an important contribution to the psychological literature on the link between womens experiences and mental health. Fredrickson and Roberts grounded their tenets on available empirical literature and argued that womens bodies are defined by and viewed through a sociocultural lens. More specifically, they argued that womens experiences and mental health risks are shaped by a culture in which they are constantly being observed and evaluated based on how they look. Women are treated as objects for the pleasure of others rather than as complete human beings. Fredrickson and Roberts described frequent male gaze, or visual inspection of the body, as one obvious example of the ways women are sexually scrutinized and objectified. They cited evidence of the abundance of such gaze from empirical research on interpersonal relations and media representations of womens bodies and body parts. For example, extant data indicate that women are more likely than men to be gazed upon and to feel gazed upon in interpersonal situations (Argyle & Williams, 1969; Hall, 1984). Men are more likely than women to engage in nonreciprocated gaze and make accompanying sexually evaluative

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13 commentary (Cary, 1978; Henley, 1977). Visual media often depict men looking directly at women, whereas media portrayals of women often emphasize body parts as representations of the whole woman (Goffman, 1979; Sommers-Flanigan, SommersFlanigan, & Davis, 1993; van Zoonen, 1994). Such evidence provides support for the notion that women and their bodies are often objectified. According to objectification theory, because women in American society are socialized within a sexually objectifying cultural context, they learn early in life to view themselves through a similar lens. Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) described this selfobjectification as internalization of an outsiders perspective on ones body. Some women may be more chronically preoccupied with their appearance than others (i.e., trait self-objectification). In addition, certain situations, most likely ones that are public, in which men are present, and that have increased potential for visual scrutiny by others, may trigger or magnify a state of self-objec tification (i.e., state self-objectification). According to objectification theory, all women experience self-objectification irrespective of their level of body image satisf action because self-objectification exists as part of womens cultural socialization. Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) suggested that self-objectification is manifested in womens tendency to constantly monitor their own bodies and compare themselves with impossible to reach cultural standards of beau ty. This leads to a self-definition that is based on what one looks like to the outside observer. Therefore, the consequences of selfobjectification are often feelings of shame fo r not living up to the cultural beauty ideal (i.e., body shame). Additionally, women experience appearance anxiety based on constantly being judged by their appearance, as well as anxiety related to their personal

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14 safety due to the increased potential for violence against them. Their chronic selfinspection, whether based on appearance anxiety or on an awareness of being objectified by others, leads self-objectifying women to experience interruptions in concentration that keep them from reaching peak motivational states when mental activities are most productive. Finally, internalizing an observers perspective leads women to be less attentive to, or less aware of, their own internal bodily cues (e.g., increased heart-rate) and to focus more on external cues for determining how to feel in certain situations. Thus, self-objectification leads to increased shame and anxiety, decreased concentration and mental activity, and decreased attention to internal bodily cues. These psychological and emotional consequences of self-objectification in turn lead to eating disorders and other mental health problems that have higher prevalence rates among women (e.g., depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction). Empirical Research on Objectification Theory Although objectification theory was published fairly recently, evidence for its utility in understanding eating disorder symptomatology has been accumulating. Several authors have examined empirically the extent to which aspects of objectification theory explain eating disorders for samples of primarily White/European American women. Much of this research has focused on and supported links among self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder symptomatology. For example, Noll and Fredrickson (1998) developed a measure of trait self-objectification and examined the mediating role of body shame in the link between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms. They proposed that self-objectification would lead to increased body shame in women, which would then lead to dieting. Dieting w ould lead to greater awareness of body shame and body dissatisfaction, eventually spiraling into eating disorder behaviors. They also

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15 hypothesized that the threat of body shame and fear of future weight gain would be enough to lead some women to engage in disordered eating even if they were currently satisfied with their bodies (i.e., did not e xperience body shame). Thus, self-objectification would have a direct link to eating disorder behaviors as well as an indirect link, through body shame, to these behaviors. In order to test these hypotheses, Noll and Fredrickson (1998) developed and administered two measures to two separate samples of undergraduate university women. The Self-Objectification Questionnaire (SOQ) assessed concern with appearance manifested through self-monitoring. In completing the SOQ, respondents are asked to rank-order a list of 10 items consisting of 5 appearance based (e.g., physical attractiveness) and 5 competence based (e.g., physical fitness) body attributes. Noll and Fredrickson reported that the SOQ was shown to demonstrate good construct validity based on correlations with other related meas ures. These authors also developed the Body Shame Questionnaire (BSQ) to measure how likely one is to feel ashamed about ones body. Composite scores are obtained by rating the frequency and intensity with which one would like to change a list of 28 body attributes. As evidence of predictive validity, the authors reported that BSQ scores accounted for unique variance in eating disorder symptoms beyond that accounted for by other measures of general shame and neuroticism. Noll and Fredrickson (1998) also administered several measures of eating disorder symptoms, including the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT; Garner & Garfinkel, 1979), a general measure of eating disorder behaviors and body dissatisfaction, the Revised Bulimia Test (BULIT-R; Thelen, Farmer, Wonderlich, & Smith, 1991), a measure of

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16 bulimic symptoms, and the Revised Restraint Scale (Polivy, Herman, & Howard, 1988), a measure of anorexia symptomatology (e.g., weight fluctuations, degree of chronic dieting, attitudes toward weight and eating). Evidence of validity and reliability across samples exists for each of these instruments. All measures were first administered to a sample of 93 young adult women, most of whom were White/European American (3% Latinas). The second sample consisted of 111 mostly White/European American young adult women (6% Latina). The second study was a replication of the first and data for the combined samples were analyzed using multiple regression techniques. Results indicated that body shame partially mediated the relationship between selfobjectification and eating disorders on the general measure of eating disorder behaviors. Similar patterns were found for each of the measures of bulimia and anorexia. More specifically, consistent with their hypotheses, Noll and Fredrickson (1998) found that self-objectification was linked directly and indirectly, through body shame, to disordered eating. Fredrickson et al. (1998) expanded this research by conducting experimental manipulations of the model. They examined the relationship between self-objectification and disordered eating as mediated by body shame. They also examined the emotional and behavioral consequences of self-objectification for women versus men. In the first experiment, they randomly assigned a sample of 72 undergraduate university women to either an induced self-objectification condition (i.e., trying on a swimsuit) or a control condition (i.e., trying on a crewneck sweater). The participants were mostly White/European American undergraduate women (7% Latinas). Self-objectification and body shame were measured using the aforementioned SOQ and the BSQ, respectively.

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17 Fredrickson et al. also measured restrained eating behavior by recording the number of cookies eaten (presented as part of a taste test). Using hierarchical multiple regression an alyses, Fredrickson et al. (1998) found that beyond body mass index (BMI), both state and trait self-objectification predicted body shame among the women in their sample. They also found that the interaction of trait and state self-objectification predicted body shame, such that women in the swimsuit condition who scored relatively high on trait self-objectification exhibited the highest levels of body shame. Next, to determine whether body shame predicted restrained eating, participants were classified into one of three restrained eating groups: true restraint (if they ate less than half of one cooki e), symbolic restraint (if they ate more than half but less than one whole cookie), and no restraint (if they ate one whole or more cookies). Using logistic regression analysis Fredrickson et al. found that as body shame increased, participants were significantly more likely to be in either the true restraint or symbolic restraint groups than in the no restraint group. Additionally, participants with very high levels of body shame were those most likely to engage in symbolic restraint, a psychological refraining from the idea of ea ting a whole cookie. Thus, the findings of their study support the notion that self-objectification is related to body shame, which in turn is related to eating behavior. In a second experiment, Fredrickson et al. (1998) selected 40 men and 42 women from a group of undergraduate university students who had prescreening scores within the highest and lowest quartiles of the SOQ. The same procedures and instruments were used as in the first experiment. This experiment also included a manipulation check to determine whether trying on a swimsuit actually induced a state of self-objectification.

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18 This was assessed using a modification of the Twenty Statements Test (TST; Bugental & Zelen, 1950) in which respondents wrote 20 statements regarding how they felt about themselves while wearing the clothing item. Tw o independent coders classified responses into categories reflecting feelings about body shape and size, physical appearance, physical competence, traits or abilities, states or emotions, and uncodable responses. Interrater agreement was high ( 84.5% for body shape and size statements and 83.8% overall). Fredrickson et al. (1998) conducted an ANCOVA, using BMI as a covariate, to examine the effects of experimental condition, trait self-objectification, and gender on likelihood of making body shape and size statements. Results revealed a significant effect only for experimental condition. On average, participants in the swimsuit condition wrote significantly more body shape and size responses on the modified TST than those in the sweater condition. Thus, it was concluded that the swimsuit condition did in fact induce state self-objectification while the sweater condition did not. In this experiment, Fredrickson et al. (1998) also expected that self-objectification would lead to body shame for women but not for men. This prediction was based on the premise that only women should be vulnerable to self-objectification because women are the targets of sexual objectification in society. Because only persons with high or low trait self-objectification were selected for this experiment, an ANCOVA was conducted instead of regression to analyze the data. The results indicated that, when the relationship of BMI to body shame was controlled for, women in this sample were significantly more likely to feel body shame while trying on a swimsuit than were men. The only significant predictor of body shame for the men was trait self-objectification. Restrained eating was

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19 examined in this experiment with two Twix bars and this time the participants were clustered into two groups: restraint group (ate approximately half of one bar) or no restraint group (ate at least one whole bar). None of the participants engaged in symbolic restraint. Logistic regression analysis revealed that membership in the restraint group was significantly associated with being a woman, having increased body shame, and higher levels of trait self-objectification, though not experimentally induced state selfobjectification. The findings of this study provided support for several aspects of objectification theory, that women are more likely to self-objectify than men, and that self-objectification leads to body shame and restrained eating. Another study incorporated objectification theory into a cross-sectional investigation of body image in women across the lifespan (Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001). Tiggeman and Lynch examined the link between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms. Furthermore, they examined body shame, habitual body monitoring, and appearance anxiety as potential mediators of this relationship. However, in the original formulation of objection theory by Fredrickson and Roberts (1997), habitual body monitoring was considered a behavior associated with taking on an observers perspective of ones body and therefore an asp ect of self-objectification, rather than a consequence of it. Hence, Tiggeman and Lynchs examination of habitual body monitoring may be considered an additional assessesment of self-objectification or of one aspect of it. Tiggeman and Lynchs (2001) study was the first to test the objectification theory model in a non-university sample, with 322 women participants recruited from a large geographic area in Victoria, Australia. The women ranged in age from 20 to 84 ( M =

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20 45.02, SD = 16.62). Unfortunately, no ethnicity data was reported for this sample, yet as is often true of most studies that do not specifically examine ethnic variables, it is likely that most of the women in the sample were of White/Caucasian background. In addition to the SOQ (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998), the habitual body monitoring inherent in selfobjectification was measured using the Body Surveillance subscale of the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (OBCS; McKinley & Hyde, 1996). The Body Surveillance Scale of the OBCS is designed to measure the extent to which one frequently watches ones appearance and thinks of ones body in terms of how it looks. This was considered by the authors to be conceptually equivalent to the habitual body monitoring inherent in self-objectification. They measured body sh ame with the Body Shame Scale of the OBCS, which assesses how likely one is to feel badly about not fulfilling cultural expectations for ones body. Appearance anxiety was assessed with the Appearance Anxiety Scale (Dion, Dion, & Keelan, 1990), which is a measure of apprehension regarding ones physical appearance and how others evaluate it. They measured eating disorder symptomatology using the Drive for Thinness, Bulimia, and Body Dissatisfaction subscales of the Eating Diso rder Inventory (EDI; Garner, Olmsted, & Polivy, 1983). Using regression analyses to conduct a path analysis, Tiggeman and Lynch (2001) found a strong positive link between self-objectification and body monitoring. Body monitoring in turn was linked to both increased body shame and increased appearance anxiety. Consequently, appearance anxiety and body shame both accounted for unique variance in eating disorder symptoms. Their study further supports objectification

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21 theorys explanation of eating disorders as resulting from self-objectification and body shame. Another study that supports the link between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms and the mediating role of body shame in this link was conducted by Tiggeman and Slater (2001). These researchers compared a sample of 50 former dancers, who had studied ballet for an average of seven years, to 51 non-dancer undergraduate students. All the participants were women and more than 95% described as Caucasian. Based on the premise that the ballet culture places extreme pressure on dancers to be thin, the authors predicted that former dancers would score significantly higher than nondancers on measures of body shame, appearance anxiety, and eating disorder symptoms. The authors hypothesized that self-objectificati on would explain the di fferences in scores. The measures used by Tiggeman and Slater (2001) included the SOQ (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998), the Body Surveillance and Body Shame subscales of the OBCS (McKinley & Hyde, 1996), and the short form of the Appearance Anxiety Scale (Dion et al., 1990). Eating disorder symptomatology was assessed with the 26-item version of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26; Garner, Ol msted, Bohr, & Garfinkel, 1982), which is derived from the original 40-item EAT (Garner & Garfinkel, 1979) and is similarly considered a highly stable and valid measure of eating disorder symptoms and body dissatisfaction (Kashubeck-West, Mintz, & Saunders 2001). A MANOVA revealed no significant differences between former dancers and nondancers on body shame or appearance anxiety. However, the group of former dancers was found to score significantly higher than the non-dancers on disordered eating, selfobjectification, and body surveillance. A path analysis using regression techniques

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22 revealed that, for both groups, increased selfobjectification was linked to increased selfsurveillance, which then was linked to increased eating disorder behaviors through increased body shame. For the former dancers, increased self-surveillance was also directly related to increased eating disorder behaviors. The research conducted by Tiggeman and Slater (2001) and by Tiggeman and Lynch (2001) raised a question about whether body surveillance/monitoring is equivalent to or distinct from self-objectification. Ob jectification theory clearly posits that body surveillance is integral to self-objectificati on. Consistent with this perspective, MinerRubino et al. (2002) noted the conceptual similarities between the SOQ and the Body Surveillance Scale of the OBCS, observing that the Body Surveillance Scale also taps the tendency to adopt an observers perspective on ones body. Indeed, in a sample of 98 mostly White/European American (73%) women, they found that these two measures were highly correlated (r = .63, p < .001), suggesting that they both tap the same construct. Thus, the authors combined scores on the SOQ and Body Surveillance Scale to form a single self-objectification composite, which yielded a Cronbachs alpha of .85. As expected, this self-objectification composite was found to correlate significantly with increased body shame, depression, and Neuroticism. Self-objectification did not correlate with body dissatisfaction, demonstrating that these are different constructs. Using regression techniques, they also found self -objectification to significantly predict negative affect, including body shame and depression, beyond that predicted by body dissatisfaction and other personality variables. This study was meaningful not only in finding that self-objectification has a direct link to negative emotional consequences, but

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23 also in providing evidence of convergent and di scriminant validity for the concept of selfobjectification and two extant operationalizations. The research reviewed thus far provides consistent support for the notion that selfobjectification is related directly and indirectly, through body shame, to eating disorder symptomatology. A study conducted by Morry and Staska (2001) suggests that internalization of cultural beauty standards is an important precursor to these links. More specifically, they examined the role of internalization of cultural beauty standards in the link from media exposure, a sexually objectifyi ng social context, to self-objectification and eating behaviors among a sample of 61 men and 89 women, all young adult university students. Although no ethnicity data was reported for the sample, as stated above, it is reasonable to assume that most participants were of White/European American background given that the study did not specifically assess ethnicity. Only the results reported for women participants will be discussed here as they are the most relevant to the present study. The instruments administered included the EAT (Garner & Garfinkel, 1979), the SOQ (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998), and the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ; Cooper, Taylor, Cooper, & Fairburn, 1987). Additionally, Morry and Staska (2001) developed a Magazine Exposure Scale (MES) for their study in order to assess exposure to ideal body images presented in the media. The MES asks respondents to indicate how many out of a total of 5 fitness magazines, 7 beauty magazines, and 10 filler magazines they have looked at in the past month. Total scores are obtained by summing the total of fitness and beauty magazines endorsed. The authors examined the relationship of magazine exposure to internalization of cultural beauty standards using the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance

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24 Questionnaire (SATAQ; Heinberg, Thompson, & Stormer, 1995), a 14-item measure of womens awareness and internalization of Western sociocultural standards of thinness as ideal beauty. Morry and Staskas (2001) regression analyses revealed that exposure to beauty magazines was significantly related to self -objectification and eating problems, although both of these relationships were fully mediated by internalization of cultural beauty standards of thinness as ideal. Thus, for the women in this study, reading beauty magazines (a sexually objectifying social context) was related to internalization of cultural beauty standards for women, and through that internalization, to selfobjectification and greater eating disturbance. Moradi et al. (2005) also examined the ro le of internalization of cultural beauty standards in mediating the relationship of reported sexual objectification to selfobjectification as well as to body shame and eating disorder symptoms. They surveyed a sample of 221 mostly White/European American (64%) undergraduate university women. Similar to other authors (Miner-Rubino et al., 2002; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001), they reasoned that the Body Surveillance S cale of the OBCS (McKinley & Hyde, 1996) is an accurate measure of self-objectification. They measured reported sexual objectification experiences using the Sexual Objectification subscale of the Daily Sexist Events scale (Swim, Cohen & Hyers, 1998). The other instruments used were the Body Shame Scale of the OBCS (McKinley & H yde) to measure body shame and the EAT-26 (Garner et al., 1982) to measure eating disorder symptoms, in addition to body mass index.

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25 Moradi et al. (2005) conducted path analyses to examine a model of the direct and indirect links among reported sexual objectification experiences, internalization of cultural beauty standards, self-objectification as body surveillance, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms. Significant positive correlations were found among all the variables and the overall path model accounted for a substantial proportion (50%) of the variance in eating disorder symptomatology. Several indirect links were also found. Internalization of cultural beauty standards partially mediated the link from reported sexual objectification experiences to body surveillance (e.g., self-objectification) and fully mediated the link from reported sexual objectification experiences to body shame and eating disorder symptoms. Body shame was also found to partially mediate the relation from body surveillance to eating disorder symptoms. Thus, not only were all the basic tenets of objectification theory supported, but internalization of cultural beauty standards was also found to play a significant role in the links among reported sexual objectification, self-objection, body shame, and eating disorder symptomatology. In summary, extant research has provided accumulating support for objectification theory, particularly in terms of how it explains the presence of eating disorders. The evidence generally provides strong support for the notion that self-objectification is associated with eating disorder symptoms, and this link is mediated partially by body shame (Fredrickson et al., 1998; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Miner-Rubino et al., 2002; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). Furthermore, the recent research by Morry and Staska (2001) and by Moradi et al (2005) indicates that internalization of cultural beauty standards is an important predictor of self-objectification.

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26 Applying Objectification Theory to Latinas One aspect of objectification theory that has yet to be examined is its applicability to women across different ethnic or racial groups. The studies reviewed above all were based on samples of primarily White/European American women. Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) proposed that self-objectification is experienced by all women, regardless of ethnic/racial background, due to their sh ared experiences of being objectified in society. However, they acknowledged that the literature they used to formulate the theory included studies conducted mainly on White/European American women and did not adequately address ethnic diversity. The assumption that all women experience objectification in the same ways, and that all women encounter the same cultural pressures to be thin, ignores the variety of sociocultural contexts in which women from different ethnic or racial groups find themselves. As a step toward addressing this gap, the present study will examine the applicability of objectification theory to understanding eating disorders among Latina women. There has been a paucity of research specifically examining eating disturbances among Latinas (Crago et al., 1996), although some research has begun to illuminate several other factors that may play a role in addition to self-objectification, including acculturation (Chamorro & Flores-Ortiz, 2000; Franko & Herrera, 1997; Pumariega, 1986), internalization of cultural beauty standards (Lester & Petrie, 1995), and the impact of acculturative stress (Perez et al., 2002). According to some findings, Latinas may be more likely to exhibit certain body image and eating problems than other women of color. For example, Fitzgibbon et al. (1998) examined of the prevalence of binge eating disorder symptoms among 55 White/European American, 179 African American, and 117 Latina women. Body image

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27 was assessed using the Figure Rating Scale (Stunkard, Sorensen, & Schulsinger, 1983). Depression was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck, Ward, Mendelsohn, Mock, & Erbaugh, 1961). The Binge Scale (Hawkins & Clement, 1980), and the Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Pa tterns Revised (QEWP-R; Spitzer et al., 1993) were administered as measures of binge eating behavior. BMI was calculated using Garrow & Websters (1985) weight and height formula. An ANCOVA revealed significant ethnic group differences in binge eating severity after controlling for BMI, age, depression, and ideal body image. Latinas were significantly more likely to report binge eating symptoms than either White/European Americans or African Americans. Hierarchical regression analyses also indicated that being Latina significantly predicted unique variance in binge eating severity after accounting for BMI, depression, and ideal body image. The results of this study suggest that eating disorder symptoms, in the form of binge eating, may be a serious problem among Latinas in comparison to other ethnic groups (Fitzgibbon et al., 1998). In another ethnic group comparison study, Altabe (1998) compared body image concerns among African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino/as, and White/European Americans. The sample consisted of 150 men and 185 women, all undergraduate university students. The percentages of participants in each ethnic group were not reported. Participants completed questionnaires consisting of the following measures: the Body Dissatisfaction subscale of the EDI (Garner et al., 1983), the Figure Rating Scale (Stunkard et al., 1983), and other body image measures. Altabe conducted an ANOVA to determine whether body image scores differed significantly by ethnicity or gender. In addition to the expected gender differences, results indicated that White/European

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28 Americans exhibited the highest levels of body dissatisfaction and had significantly greater body dissatisfaction than Asian Americans. Among racial/ethnic minority persons, Latino/as and were found to have significantly greater levels of body dissatisfaction than both Asian Americans and African Americans. Although these results suggest that Latinos/as may have greater difficulties with body dissatisfaction, this study did not attend to the impact of acculturation on ethnic group differences in eating disorders. Acculturation and Internalization of Cu ltural Beauty Standards Among Latinas Indeed, the limited emerging literature in the area of eating disorders among Latinas suggests that body satisfaction may be associated with acculturation and/or internalization of U.S. cultural beauty standards for women. In one of the first such studies, Pumariega (1986) assessed the effects of acculturation on the relationship between ethnicity and attitudes about eating for Latina and White/European American adolescents. Latina participants were 138 adolescent girls. All Latinas were either born outside of the U.S. or were the first generation in their family born in the U.S. Their responses were compared to a sample of 365 White/European American adolescent girls. Eating disorder symptoms were assessed using the EAT (Garner & Garfinkel, 1979). Acculturation to American culture was assessed using the Acculturation Questionnaire, a rationally derived instrument developed by Pumariega (1986) that included questions about food, music, clothi ng and language preferences, in addition to number of years living in the U.S., cultural background of close relations, and ethnic/cultural self-identification. According to descriptive statistics, both groups had similar mean EAT scores, yet correlational results revealed that acculturation was significantly positively related to increased eating disorder symptoms for Latina

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29 participants. Thus, higher levels of accultura tion (defined by increased preference for the English language, as well as conventional U.S. food and music) were related to higher levels of eating disorder symptoms among Latina participants. The results of this study provided preliminary evidence of a relationship between acculturation and eating disorders. In a more recent study, Franko and Herrera (1997) examined body image satisfaction in a sample of 28 Guatemalan American women and 29 White/European American women. All participants were undergraduate university students and the Guatemalan American women were all second-generation, defined as born in the U.S. with parents who had immigrated from Guatemala. Body image satisfaction was assessed using the Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction subscales of the EDI (Garner et al., 1983), the Fear of Fat Scale (Goldfarb, Dykens, & Gerrard, 1985), which is a measure of attitudes toward obesity and fears of becoming overweight, and the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBS RQ; Brown, Cash, & Mikulka, 1990), which measures attitudes about ones body. The Acculturation Questionnaire (Pumariega, 1986) was used to assess level of acculturation, defined as reflecting greater endorsement of the attitudes and values of the majority American culture (p. 122). It was chosen by the authors because it was developed specifically for a study of disturbed eating patterns in Hispanic adolescents (p. 122). Franko and Herrera (1997) conducted a one-way MANOVA using all body image measures in addition to several ANOVAs using each body image measure separately. The results revealed that, compared to White/European American women, Guatemalan American women in their sample were significantly less likely to report body

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30 dissatisfaction, were not as driven toward thinness, and exhibited less fear of becoming fat. Additionally, Guatemalan American women were significantly less likely to be acculturated than White/European American women. Level of acculturation was also significantly correlated with body image attitudes. Guatemalan American women who were more acculturated showed significantly greater body disparagement and fat phobia than those who were less acculturated. Thus, the results of this study indicate that increased acculturation may be related to increased body dissatisfaction for Latinas. Another recent study examined eating disorder symptoms, acculturation, and treatment-seeking behaviors in an ethnically diverse community sample (Cachelin et al., 2000). After initial interviews, the sample was divided into two groups, one group of women who were currently experiencing an eating disorder and one control group of women with no history of eating disorders. Participants were matched based on ethnicity and educational level and each group included 49 Latinas, 25 White/European Americans, 23 African Americans, and 21 Asian Americans. Participants completed a structured phone interview using a screening tool originally designed for the New England Womens Health Care Project (Striegel-Moore, Wilfley, Pike, Dohm, & Fairburn, 1999) that assessed weight-related behaviors, psychiatric symptoms, and healthcare usage. Questions were added to assess for acculturation based on those variables that the authors described as most widely considered to be basic components of acculturation. Thus, increased acculturation was defined as increased endorsement of the following items: preference for the English language as primary; being born in the U.S.; having parents who were born in the U.S. Af rican American women were not included in

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31 analyses conducted on acculturation because mostly all were born in the U.S. and had parents who were born in the U.S. According to a Chi-square analysis conducted by Cachelin et al. (2000), the women in each of the different ethnic groups were equally likely to report symptoms of several types of eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia, and eating disorder not otherwise specified. Initial ANOVA results revealed significant ethnic group differences on BMI, thus BMI was entered as a covariate in subsequent analyses. An ANCOVA indicated that the eating disorder gr oup was significantly more likely to report eating disorder symptoms than the control group and that there were no significant ethnicity effects for the eating disorder group. Women in the eating disorder group were found to be significantly more likely to be acculturated than women in the control group. Additionally, among the women in the eating disorder group, those who were less acculturated were significantly less likely to have received treatment in the past year. The results of this study indicate that, although ethnicity itself may not be related to the likelihood of experiencing eating disorders, level of acculturation to American society may play a role both in the presentation of eating disorders and a womans likelihood to receive treatment. Providing further support for the relationship of acculturation to eating disorders, Chamorro and Flores-Ortiz (2000) examined the relationship between acculturation and eating attitudes among five generations of Me xican American women, ranging from first generation women who were born in Mexico to fifth generation women whose grandparents were born in the U.S. Participants included 139 women, with an average age of 29.1. Participants were recruited from various community organizations and

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32 undergraduate courses throughout a large metropolitan area in California. Most of the women were first generation (36%) or second generation (37.4%) and almost half (46.8%) were college students. Participants completed the EAT-26 (Garner et al., 1982) and the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans (ARSMA; Cuellar, Harris, & Jasso, 1980). Correlational results indicated a significant positive relationship between acculturation and eating disturbance. The group for which this relationship was the strongest was the second-generation women. Thus, extant research suggests that a relationship exists between acculturation and eating disorders for Latinas. Due to the multidimensional nature of acculturation, however, this relationship may be more complex than the aforementioned studies suggest. Indeed, Lester and Petrie (1995) examined the more specific variable of endorsement of U.S. sociocultural values about attractiveness, in addition to general acculturation. This construct of sociocultural values about attractiveness is parallel to the internalization of cultural beauty standards that was found by Morry and Staska (2001) and Moradi et al. (2005) to contribute to se lf-objectification. Lester and Petrie also assessed BMI and body satisfaction in their sample of 142 Mexican American undergraduate university women. Acculturation was defined in Lester and Petries (1995) study as a dynamic adaptation of the values, developmental sequences, roles, and personality factors of the dominant group (p. 199), in this case, U.S. culture. It was measured using the ARSMA (Cuellar et al., 1980). This is the most commonly used and well-validated measure of acculturation among Mexican Americans and has also been validated for use with other Latino groups (Zane & Mak, 2003). The Beliefs About Attractiveness Questionnaire

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33 (BAQ; Mintz & Betz, 1988) was used to assess level of endorsement of U.S. sociocultural values about attractiveness. Bulimia was measured with the BULIT-R (Thelen et al., 1991) and body satisfaction was measured with the Body Parts Satisfaction Scale (BPSS; Borhrnstedt, 1977), which is a self-report measure of satisfaction with 24 body parts. Lester and Petrie (1995) conducted a hier archical regression analysis and found that, among the women in their sample, BMI and sociocultural beliefs about attractiveness each accounted for significant equal portions of the variance in bulimic symptoms. However, neither acculturation level nor level of body satisfaction predicted unique variance in bulimia symptoms. One possible explanation for the lack of significant results for body satisfaction, which may fit well with objectification theory, is that perhaps self-objectification and not necessarily body dissatisfaction may be the important predictor of eating disorders for Latinas. Although self-objectification was not assessed in this study, such an explanation is supported by research on self-objectification that has found it to predict negative affect and body shame beyond what was predicted by body dissatisfaction (Miner-Rubino et al., 2002) as well as by research indicating that self-objectification has a direct link to eating disorder symptoms (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slat er, 2001). This explanation is also supported by research suggesting that body dissatisfaction and fear of fat may not be as common among women with eating disorders who come from cultures that have not traditionally valued thinness (Gordon, 2001). Lester and Petrie also proposed that their lack of finding a significant link between general acculturation and eating disorder

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34 symptoms may be due to the fact that they focused on bulimia whereas other studies have examined eating disorders in general, including anorexia. As with body satisfaction, Lester and Petrie (1995) did not find a link between general acculturation and bulimia symptoms. This was the only study among those reviewed here, however, to differentiate between general acculturation and more specific internalization of U.S. cultural beauty standa rds. Indeed, Lester and Petrie found the latter was related significantly and positively to bulimia symptoms. These findings suggest that internalization of cultural beauty standards may be an important predictor of eating disorders among Latinas. More specifically, the link between acculturation and eating disorder symptomatology may be mediated, fully or partially, by internalization of U.S. cultural beauty standards. In addition to the potential roles of general acculturation and internalization of cultural beauty standards, acculturative stress may be an important correlate of eating disorder symptoms among Latinas. Acculturative stress has been described as a stress reaction to challenging life events that are rooted in the experience of acculturation (Berry, 2003, p.31). Acculturation, by contrast, is defined as a process in which the acculturating culture or individual has continuous and first-hand interaction with a host culture. This interaction results in cultural and/or psychological change among the people in contact from each of the groups, although greater change is most commonly found for the acculturating group or individual. Acculturation is a multidimensional, continuous, and fluid process that involves developing cer tain strategies for adaptation that vary across individuals and across different type s of societies. A psychologically healthy process of acculturation (producing less acculturative stress) includes integrating aspects

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35 of the new culture into ones cultural and individual identity while maintaining positive identification with the culture of origin (Berry; Berry, Trimble, & Olmedo, 1986). Berry (1980; 2003) conceptualized acculturative stress as similar to a general a stress-coping appraisal process in that the stress reaction occurs when perceived adaptive resources are judged as inadequate to deal with perceived societal demands. However, what is unique about acculturative stress versus general stress is that it is experienced in relation to the acculturation process specifically. Berry posited that healthy acculturation includes balancing aspects of both cultures into ones cultural self-identity. When excessive difficulties are encountered in this balancing process, acculturative stress may occur. This conceptualization of acculturative stress is similar to the struggle described by Harris and Kuba (1997) and other authors (see Gilbert, 2000), who have suggested that eating disorders in women of color may be a coping strategy for dealing with conflicting messages about beauty from their culture of origin and the host culture to which they are acculturating. Acculturative stress has been associated with greater vulnerability to psychological distress (Balls Organista et al., 2003), however, for this review only one study was found that measured the impact of acculturative stress on the development of eating disorders among women of color. Perez et al. (2002) examined acculturative stress and body dissatisfaction in predicting bulimia symptoms among a diverse sample of 118 undergraduate university women. The sample consisted of 51% White/European Americans, 30% African Americans, and 19% Latinas. Among the total number of Latinas in the sample, over 90% were born in the U.S. and 70% of those had parents who had moved to the U.S. from a Latin American country. Participants completed the 24-item short version of the

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36 Social, Attitudinal, Familial, and Environmental Acculturative Stress Scale (SAFE; Mena, Padilla, & Maldonado, 1987), which was derived from the original 60-item version developed by Padilla et al. (1985) and assesses experiences of acculturative stress within several different contexts as well as perceived discrimination toward immigrant populations. The authors also administered the EDI (Garner et al., 1983) to measure eating disorder behaviors and the Figure Rati ng Scale (Stunkard et al., 1983) to measure body satisfaction. Initial correlational analyses revealed significant relationships between increased body dissatisfaction and increased bulimic symptoms reported on the EDI Bulimia Scale. A significant correlation was also found between acculturative stress and bulimic symptoms. A MANOVA and subsequent univariat e and post-hoc analyses indicated that Latina and White/European American participants were significantly more likely to report body dissatisfaction and bulimia symptoms than African American participants. On the other hand, Latina participants were the group most likely to report acculturative stress, followed by African Americans and then White/European Americans. Perez et al. (2002) then conducted multiple regression analyses using only the results for the women of color in the sample ( N = 58). The results indicated that body dissatisfaction and acculturative stress each were related positively and uniquely to bulimia scores. Further, the interaction of body dissatisfaction and acculturative stress also accounted for unique variance in bulimia scores. They divided participants into high and low acculturative stress groups and found that among those scoring high on acculturative stress, higher body dissatisfaction was related to more bulimia symptoms. Among those scoring low on acculturative stress, the relationship between body

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37 dissatisfaction and bulimia symptoms was weak and did not reach significance. The results of this study indicated that acculturative stress may have important mental health consequences for women of color in the form of increased body dissatisfaction and increased vulnerability to bulimia. Although this study suggested that acculturative stress may be related to body dissatisfaction and bulimia among Latinas, this was the only study found for this review that specifically examined this relationship. Thus, further exploratory research is needed on the relationship of acculturative stress to eating disorder symptoms and their precursors. In summary, the literature presented in this chapter suggests that there are several factors that can add substantively to the fram ework of objectification theory in explaining eating disorders among Latinas. Overall, the research suggests that acculturation and internalization of cultural beauty standards may be associated with eating disorders among Latinas. Furthermore, internalization of cultural beauty standards may mediate the link of acculturation to eating disorders (Lester & Petrie, 1995) and self-objectification (Moradi et al., 2005; Morry & Staska, 2001). Therefore, a theoretical model for understanding eating disorders among Latinas should incorporate these constructs along with the roles played by self-objectification and body shame that have been described in the research on objectification theory. Intere stingly, though Moradi et al. (2005) did not specifically investigate racial/ethnic differences, they did report that an initial MANCOVA and follow-up ANOVAs revealed that non-White participants in their sample ( N = 78) scored significantly lower on interna lization of cultural beauty standards, body surveillance, and eating disorder symptoms than White participants ( N = 142). In their discussion of potential future research, they recommended that objectification

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38 theory and eating disorder related variables be specifically examined among ethnic minority samples. Purpose of the Present Study Grounded on the literature reviewed in this chapter, the present study aims to examine, in a sample of Latina participants, the applicability of the aspects of objectification theory that are most relevant to understanding eating disorders. Specifically, as proposed by objectification theory and extant literature on this theory, the current study will examine a model that includes links among self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorders. In light of research on Latinas, the current study will also examine the role of acculturation and internali zation of cultural beauty standards within this model. Exploratory analysis of links between acculturative stress and eating disorderrelated variables included in the model will also be conducted. The model tested in the current study is presented in Figure 2-1 and examines the following hypotheses: 1. Acculturation is expected to relate positively and directly to internalization of cultural beauty standards and indirectly to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorders. 2. Internalization of cultural beauty standards will be related directly and positively to self-objectification and to body shame. In addition, there will be a positive and direct link between internalization of cultural beauty standards and eating disorder symptomatology. This link will also be mediated partially by self-objectification and body shame. 3. Self-objectification will be related positively and directly to eating disorders symptoms and this link will be mediated partially by body shame. 4. Finally, the link between acculturative stress and all other variables in the model will be explored. Given the paucity of research on this relationship, however, no specific hypotheses are made regarding the relationship of acculturative stress to the variables in the model.

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39 Figure 2-1. Hypothesized model of objectification theory and acculturation links to eating disorder symptom in Latinas. Acculturation Internalization SelfObject. Body Shame Eat. D/O Symptoms

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40 CHAPTER 3 METHOD Participants A total of 120 participants responded to the survey. Of these, 8 participants were excluded due to substantial missing data. Independent samples t -tests revealed no significant differences between the excluded participants and all other participants on several demographic variables, including age, ethnic/racial self-identification, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation iden tification, birthplace, parents birthplace, and generation level. The final sample used in the analyses consisted of 112 participants, all of whom self-described as women and as Latina. In order to identify potential ethnic/racial differences among the Latinas in the sample, participants who self-described as Latina were asked to differentiate between Latina/Hispanic White and Latina/Hispanic Black and also to differentiate between how they self-describe and how they think others would describe them (see items 5 and 6 in the Appendix). The majority of participants self-described as Latina/Hispanic White (81.3%) and also reported that others would describe them as Latina/Hispanic White (79.5%). Some participants either circled both Latina/Hispanic White and Latina/Hispanic Black or entered in Other as Latina brown or just Latina for both their self-description (8%) and how others would describe them (7.1%). This may suggest that had there been another category, such as Latina/Hispanic Multiracial, perhaps more respondents would have opted to self-describe in that manner. The

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41 remaining participants self-described as Latina/Hispanic Black (1.8%) or as both Latina/Hispanic White and European-American/White (8%). Participants ranged in age from 18 to 78, with a median age of 23 and a mean age of 26.59 ( SD = 9.32). The majority of participants were first-generation, born in the U.S. (42%) or were immigrant generation, born outside of the U.S. (42%). Another 8.9% were second-generation, 2.7% were third-generation, and 4.5% were from families that had been living in the U.S. for more than three generations. Of those born outside of the U.S., 24.1% were born in Mexico, Central, or S outh America, and 20.5% were born in the Latin Caribbean (Cuba, Dominican Republic, or Puerto Rico). The median age at which participants not born in the U.S. first moved to the U.S. was 7 and the mean age was 10.97 ( SD = 9.46). Socioeconomic status was measured using average annual household income. Based on this, 52.7% of participants were middle class, 26.8% were working class, 10.7% were upper middle class, 4.5% were lower middle class, and 5.4% were upper class. The majority of participants self-described as heterosexual (94.6%), while 2.7% reported being gay or lesbian, 1.8% reporte d being bisexual, and .9% reported being transgender or other. In order to ensure that language barriers did not interfere with study results, two questions were asked regarding level of English reading comprehension and ability to understand the questions in the survey (see items 13 and 14 in the Appendix). All participants reported that they understood English either well or very well and all reported that they were able to understand the questions in the survey and provide accurate responses.

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42 Procedure Survey packets were distributed through personal contacts and by mail. In addition to the battery of instruments and demographic items described above, the packets contained a stamped, self-addressed, return envelope and a consent form that explained the purpose of the study, described rights of participants, and also included the researchers contact information for participants who had questions or comments about the study. The majority of participants who responded to the survey were recruited from a mailing list of Latino/Hispanic students obtained from the diversity office at a large southeastern university. All students on the mailing list that were women were mailed a survey. Those participants that received the survey by mail were sent a reminder letter along with another copy of the survey after four weeks if they had not returned the survey. As participation in the study was conf idential, mail-out surveys were marked with an identification number to determine who should receive reminder letters. A total of 295 surveys were mailed out; however, 21 of those were returned due to incorrect or insufficient addresses. Therefore, a total of 274 surveys were mailed and actually received by potential participants. After the first mail-out, 62 surveys were returned, yielding a 23% initial return rate. After reminder letters were sent, another 20 participants responded. Therefore, a total of 82 participants responded to the survey from this mail-out, yielding a 30% total return rate. Four of these participants were among those excluded from analyses due to substantial missing data. Thus, a total of 78 participants included in the final sample were female Latina university students. As this is a circumscribed and difficult to reach population, participants were also recruited from personal contacts and snow ball sampling methods in three major urban areas in the southeastern, northeastern, and midwestern U.S. Reminder letters could not

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43 be sent to participants recruited in this manner as surveys were distributed personally and no mailing addresses were obtained. A total of 65 surveys were distributed through personal contacts and snow ball sampling. Thirty eight participants responded, yielding a return rate of 58% for this method. Of these, 4 were among those excluded from analyses due to substantial missing data. Therefore, 34 of the participants in the study were from these three primarily community-based subsamples. ANOVA results revealed no significant differences among the 4 sampling locations for most of the variables of interest, including self-objectification, body shame, internalization of cultural beauty standards, eating disorder symptomatology, and acculturative stress. Significant differences were found among the four sampling locations for acculturation, F (3, 108) = 5.54, p = .001. However, significant differences in age were also found among sample locations, F (3, 108) = 7.57, p < .001. Given that age was also found to correlate significantly and negatively with acculturation, r -.31, p = .001, it was controlled for in an ANCOVA with sampling location as the independent variable and acculturation level as the dependent variable. After adjusting for age as a covariate, no significant differences were found in acculturation among the different sampling locations. It was therefore determined that differences in sampling procedure did not significantly affect analyses. Measures With the exception of those instruments designed to measure cultural/ethnic variables, psychometric data have not been reported on most of the studys instruments with samples of women of color in the U. S. The present study will therefore provide needed validity and reliability information for the use of these measures among Latinas.

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44 Self-Objectification Trait self-objectification was measured using both the Self-Objectification Questionnaire (SOQ; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998) and the Body Surveillance subscale of the Objectified Body Consciousness Scales (OBCS; McKinley & Hyde, 1996). The Body Surveillance Scale of the OBCS was developed based on feminist theoretical concepts, similar to objectification theory, about the social construction of the female body. The Body Surveillance Scale contains 8 items scored on a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) and is designed to measure the extent to which one frequently watches ones appearance and thinks of ones body in terms of how it looks. Item ratings are summed and a score of 0 is assigned to each NA response. The sums are then divided by the total number of responses, not including NA or missing responses. Scale scores can range from 1 to 7. Higher scores reflect greater body surveillance. Two reverse coded items are I think it is more important that my clothes are comfortable than whether they look good on me and I think more about how my body feels than how my body looks. The full instrument can be found in McKinely and Hyde. According to the interpretation guidelines provided by McKinley along with the instrument, a person scoring high on the Body Surveillance Scale tends to self-inspect frequently and thinks of her body in terms of its appearance. Scores on this subscale have been used as a measure of self-objectification (Miner-Rubino et al., 2002) and habitual body monitoring (Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) described the latter as an inherent aspect of self-objectification as it is a form of taking on an outsiders perspective of ones body. Furthermore, due to the high correlation between the SOQ and Body Surveillance Scales, Miner-Rubino et al.

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45 formulated a composite score of self-objectifi cation from these two scales. Therefore, the use of the Body Surveillance Scale as a meas ure of self-objectification is supported by previous research. In the initial development sample of 502 young adult women and 151 middle-aged women, most of whom were White/European American, scores on the Body Surveillance Scale showed good construct validity based on a significant negative correlation with body esteem (McKinley & Hyde, 1996). McKinley (1998) examined the usefulness of the OBCS for explaining gender differences in body esteem among a sample of 164 female and 163 male mostly White/European American participants. For their sample, the Body Surveillance Scale was found to have a significant negative correlation with body esteem and a significant positive correlation with actual/ideal weight discrepancy. These relations were stronger for women than for men. Across prior samples, alpha internal consistency estimates for Body Surveillance were .89 (McKinley & Hyde), .79 (McKinley), .83 (Tiggeman & Slater, 2001), and .80 (Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001). In the present sample, an alpha internal consistency estimate of .83 was found, which is similar to previous findings and supports the internal consistency of body surveillance scores for this sample of 112 Latinas. The Self-Objectification Questionnaire (SOQ; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998) was developed based on objectification theory and is designed to assess concern with appearance without an evaluative component because self-objectification is purportedly distinct from body satisfaction. Respondents are asked to rank-order a list of 5 appearance based body attributes (e.g., physical attractiveness, weight) and 5 competence based body attributes (e.g., physical fitness, energy level) in terms of how important they

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46 are to their physical self-concept (9 = most important, 0 = least important). Scores range from to 25 and are calculated by subtracting the sum of the competence ranks from the sum of the appearance ranks. Higher scores reflect greater emphasis on appearance and are interpreted as greater self-objectification. In their samples of 93 and 111 mostly White/European American women, Noll and Fredrickson reported means of 7.7 ( SD = 17.6) and 5.7 ( SD = 18.4), respectively. They reported good construct validity for the SOQ based on correlations with the Appearance Anxiety Scale (Dion, Dion, & Keelan, 1990) and with the Body Image Assessment (Williamson et al., 1985). No reliability data has been reported for this measure in previous studies. In the present sample, 5 participants (in addition to the 8 that were excluded from the study) were missing substantial amounts of data on the SOQ because they did not correctly follow the scoring instructions. These participants either did not rank one attribute or ranked one attribute twice and thereby missed ranking another attribute. According to the scoring instructions, such errors in ranking require that the data for that participant be considered missing. Due to this high number of missing data and potential participant confusion about SOQ instructions, compared to missing data for only 2 participants on the OBCS Surveillance Scale, it was decided that the SOQ would not be used in the analyses. The OBCS Surveillance Scale was therefore used as the only measure of self-objectification in the analyses as it has previously been shown to be a valid and reliable measure of self-objectification and habitual body monitoring. Body Shame Body shame was measured using both the Body Shame Questionnaire (BSQ; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998) and the Body Shame Scale, a subscale of the OBCS (McKinley & Hyde, 1996). The Body Shame Scale of the O BCS assesses how likely one is to feel

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47 badly about not fulfilling cultural expectations for ones body and higher scores indicate greater body shame. It contains 8 items and is scored on a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Item ratings are summed and a score of 0 is assigned to each NA response. The sums are then divided by the total number of responses, not including NA or missing responses. Scale scores can range from 1 to 7. Items include I feel like I must be a bad person when I dont look as good as I could and I feel ashamed of myself when I havent made the effort to look my best. The full instrument can be found in McKinely and Hyde. Similar to the Body Surveillance scores, Body Shame scores demonstrated good construct validity based on a significant negative correlation with body esteem among a sample of 502 young adult women and 151 middle-aged women (McKinley & Hyde, 1996). The Body Shame scores also were significantly positively correlated with eating disorder symptoms for that sample. Furthermore, as expected, Body Shame scores yielded a significant positive correlation with actual/ideal weight discrepancy and a significant negative correlation with body esteem among a sample of 164 mostly White/European American women (McKinley, 1998). In her sample, McKinley also reported an alpha internal consistency estimate of .73 for the Body Shame scores. Across other samples, Body Shame scores yielded alpha internal consistency estimates of .75 (McKinley & Hyde, 1998), .80 (Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001) and .85 (Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). The alpha internal consistency estimate for the present sample was .81. The Body Shame Questionnaire (BSQ; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998) was designed as a measure of how likely one is to feel ashamed about ones body. Respondents are asked to indicate whether they would like to change a given body part, how strong their desire

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48 for change is (intensity), and how often they think about changing that body part (frequency). Composite scores are obtained by rating the frequency and intensity with which one would like to change a list of 28 body attributes (e.g., weight, profile, and height). Intensity ratings range from 1 to 9 (1 = very mild desire for change; 9 = very intense desire for change), as do frequency ratings (1 = seldom thought of change; 9 = very often thought of change). Total scores are obtained by summing standardized scores derived from the total number of body attributes the respondent would like to change, the total intensity rating scores, and the total frequency rating scores. Higher standardized scores reflect increased body shame. Mean standardized scores of .18 ( SD = 2.8) and .01 ( SD = 2.9) were reported on the BSQ across two samples of mostly White/European American women (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998). In terms of validity, the BSQ predicted unique variance in eating disorder symptoms beyond that accounted for by other measures of general shame and neuroticism (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998). In their sample of mostly White/European college aged women, Fredrickson et al. (1998) reported an alpha internal consistency estimate of .91 for the BSQ composite. In the present sample, the BSQ was not used in the final analyses due to too many errors made by participants in intensity and frequency ratings. A total of 23 participants incorrectly made intensity and frequency ratings on body attributes that they had not indicated were body attributes they would like to change. Data for these participants would need to be excluded based on scoring criteria. As substantial amounts of data were not missing from the Body Shame Scale of the OBCS and this instrument has been used

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49 as a valid and reliable measure of body shame by other researchers, it was the only measure of body shame used in the final analyses for the present study. Eating Disorder Symptoms The 26-item version of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26; Garner, Olmsted, Bohr, & Garfinkel, 1982) was developed from a fact or analysis of the original 40-item EAT (Garner & Garfinkel, 1979), which has been widely used as a reliable and valid measure of eating disorder symptoms and body image disturbance. Items include Feel extremely guilty after eating and Vomit after I have eaten. The full EAT-26 can be found in Garner et al. and online at http://river-center.org/information.html. In the original scoring method, which is used for differentiating betw een clinical and nonclinical ranges, weights of 1-3 are assigned to the three most severe item responses, ranging from often to always, with all other responses weighted 0. Overall scores range from 0 to 78 and are obtained by weighting responses considered symptomatic, with scores above 20 considered to indicate the presence of an eating disorder. It has been argued that for nonclinical research samples (as in the present study), it is best to use a continuous score of the full 6-point scale (never to always) in order to obtain a less skewed distribution (Seiver, 1994). Additionally, in th eir review of assessment methods for eating disorders, Kashubeck-West et al. (2001) recommended that continuous scoring be used for research purposes. The present study followed this continuous scoring method, in which items are scored on a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (never) to 6 (always). Scale scores are derived by summing item ratings and can range from 26 to 156. EAT-26 scores are highly correlated with EAT-40 scores ( r = .98) and a recent review of eating disorder assessment tools identified the EAT-26 as a reliable and valid measure of undifferentiated DSM-IV eating disorders (Kashubek-West et al., 2001) with

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50 good concurrent and predictive validity in numerous studies. Internal consistency reliability estimates have been reported for overall EAT-26 scores with coefficient alphas of .83 (Koslowsky, Scheinberg, Bleich, Mark, Apter, Danon, Solomon, 1992) and .88 (Tiggeman & Slater, 2001) across samples. An alpha internal consistency estimate of .87 was found for the present sample. Internalization of Cultural Beauty Standards The Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire (SATAQ; Heinberg, Thompson, & Stormer, 1995) is a 14-item measure of womens awareness and internalization of dominant Western cultural standards of thinness as beauty. Items are scored on a 5-point Likert-type scale ra nging from 1 (completely disagree) to 5 (completely agree). The scale consists of two factors, Awareness of societal standards of beauty for women and Internalization of such standards. The present study used the 8item Internalization subscale of the SATAQ to measure internalization of cultural beauty standards. Item ratings are summed and total scores range from 8 to 40, with higher scores reflecting greater awareness and internalization of this cultural beauty standard. Items on the Internalization scale include women who appear in TV shows and movies project the type of appearance that I see as my goal and photographs of thin women make me wish that I were thin. The full instrument can be found in Heinberg et al. For a sample of 162 undergraduate university women, Heinberg et al. (1995) reported good convergence between the SATAQ scores and scores on several measures of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, such as the Eating Disorders Inventory (Garner, 1991) and the Multidimensional Body Self-Relations Questionnaire Physical Appearance Evaluation scale (Brown et al., 1990). Heinberg et al. reported an alpha coefficient of .93 for Internalization scores in a sample of 194 undergraduate university

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51 women and .88 for another cross-validation sample of 150 undergraduate university women. Other authors reported an alpha internal consistency estimate of .85 for the Internalization subscale (Morry & Staska, 2001). Alpha internal consistency was .87 for the present sample. Acculturation The Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH; Marin, Sabogal, Marin, Otero-Sabogal, & Perez-Stable, 1987) is a multidimensional measure of acculturation to U.S. culture for use with people from various Latino cultures. The overall scale consists of 12 items rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale. Item ratings are summed and overall totals range from 12 to 60. Totals can then be averaged to yield scores ranging from 1 to 5. Higher scores reflect greater levels of acculturation and, according to Marin et al., a cutoff score 2.99 can be used to differentiate between persons who are highly acculturated from those who are less acculturated. The SASH assesses three aspects of acculturation, including Language Use with five items, Media with three items, and Ethnic Social Relations with four items. Sample questions include: What language(s) do you usually speak at home? (Language Use s ubscale); In what language(s) are the radio programs you usually listen to? (Media subscale); and You prefer going to social gatherings/parties at which the people are: (Ethnic Social Relations subscale). The full instrument can be found in Marin et al. The normative sample for Marin et al. (1987) consisted of 363 Latinos/as and 228 non-Latino Whites. The Latinos/as in the sample consisted of 44% Mexican Americans, 6% Cuban Americans, 2% Puerto Ricans, and 47% Latinos from various Central American countries. SASH scores demonstrated good convergent validity when correlated with another acculturation index that assessed generation level, length of

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52 residence in the U.S., and self-evaluation of acculturation level. SASH scores also differentiated between Latinos and non-Latinos and correlated negatively with age of arrival to the U.S. Marin et al. reported an alpha internal consistency reliability estimate of .92 for overall SASH scores. An alpha internal consistency of .88 was found for the present sample. Acculturative Stress The short 24-item version of the Social, Attitudinal, Familial, and Environmental Acculturative Stress Scale (SAFE; Mena et al., 1987) was used to assess acculturative stress. The short form of the SAFE was derived from the 17 items in the original 60-item version ( Padilla et al., 1985) that were found to differentiate between generations among Japanese and Mexican American participants, with an additional 7 items that measure perceived discrimination toward immigrant populations. Thus, in addition to assessing experiences of acculturative stress within several different contexts, the short form of the SAFE also assesses perceived discrimination. Respondents are asked to indicate how they perceive cultural stress by answering questions scored on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (str ongly agree). If respondents indicate that a question does not apply to them, that item is scored 0. Item ratings are summed and total scores can range from 0 to 120. Items include Close family members and I have conflicting expectations about my future and People look down upon me if I practice customs of my culture. The full instrument can be found in Mena et al. The normative group consisted of 96 women and 118 men. Eighty six participants were first-generation, 37 were second-genera tion, 75 were third-generation, and 16 were reported to be mixed-generation. The et hnic/racial breakdown of first-generation immigrant participants was as follows: 61 Asians, 9 Hispanics/Latinos, 7 Europeans, 4

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53 Middle Easterners, 3 Canadians, 1 South Afri can, and 1 Indian. In terms of validity, the SAFE was found to differentiate between generation levels as well as between immigrants who moved to the U.S. before age 12 and those who moved to the U.S. after age 12 (Mena et al., 1987). An internal consistency reliability of .89 was reported for the normative sample of ethnically diverse participants. Internal consistencies also have been reported at .89 for Latinos (Fuertes & Westbrook, 1996) and .87 for a diverse group of African Americans, Latinos, and White/Europ ean Americans (Perez et al., 2002). Similar to previous results, an alpha internal consistency of .87 was found for this sample of Latinas. Demographics In addition to the battery of instruments, participants were asked several demographic questions, including self-reported ethnic/racial identification, socioeconomic class as reflected by average annual household income, age, sexual orientation identification, country of birth, generation level, and age of arrival to the U.S. if born in another country. They were also as ked to report weight and height in order to compute BMI using Quetelets index of body mass (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), which has been reported as a reliable and valid measure of body size (Garrow & Webster, 1985; Heymsfield, Allison, Heshka, & Pierson, 1995). These demographic questions are presented in the Appendix and were included as the last portion of the questionnaire.

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54 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Preliminary Analyses Prior to analysis, all demographics and variables of interest were examined for accuracy of data entry, missing values, and fit between their distributions and the assumptions of multivariate analysis. The assumption of normality was met by verifying that there was no significant skewness or kurtosi s, as well as inspection of histograms and normal and detrended probability plots. Linearity and homoscedasticity were verified by inspection of bivariate scatterplots. Inspection of the correlation matrix revealed no bivariate correlations above .70 among the variables of interest, indicating that multicollinearity did not exist. Links between demographic variables and other variables of interest were examined using ANOVA for categorical variables and Pearson product moment correlations for continuous variables in order to identify potential covariates to be entered in subsequent analyses. This examination revealed significant negative correlations between increased age and three variables of interest; acculturation, r = -.31, p = .001, internalization of cultural beauty standards, r = .35 p < .001, and self-objectification as measured by the OBCS Body Surveillance Scale, r = -.30, p = .001. Additionally, significant positive correlations were found between actual body size as measured by Body Mass Index (BMI) and body shame, r = .25, p = .009. Therefore, age and BMI were included as covariates in all analyses to adjust for their links when testing

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55 hypotheses. The variables of interest were not related significantly to any other demographic variables (e.g., socioeconomic status, sexual orientation). Descriptive Statistics Descriptive statistics for the current sample (see Table 4-1) were generally comparable to sample means presented in previous studies. More specifically, the present samples mean for Body Surveillance was 4.34 ( SD = 1.15) which is comparable to the mean of 4.82 (no standard deviation reported) obtained with a sample of 156 mostly White/European American women (McKinley, 1998). In the same study, McKinley reported a mean score of 3.46 (but no standard deviation) for the Body Shame Scale. The present sample of Latina women had a mean score of 3.01 ( SD = 1.27), which was similar to, though slightly lower than, that reported by McKinley. The mean EAT-26 score for the current sample was 59.82 ( SD = 16.19), which is similar to previous results ( M = 69.75, SD = 16.76) for heterosexual women, using the same continuous scoring method (Seiver, 1994). Among the women in their sample, Morry and Staska (2001) reported a mean score of 22.89 ( SD = 6.32) on the Internalization scale of the SATAQ. Similarly, a mean score of 23.34 ( SD = 7.22) was found in the present sample. Thus, overall, descriptive data for the present sample on eating disorder-related constructs were comparable to that found in previous samples. The present samples mean acculturation score was comparable to previous samples of women with at least some college education. Marin et al. (1987) reported SASH acculturation mean scores of 2.69 (standard deviations were not reported) for Latina women in their normative community based sample. The mean level of education for all Latino/Hispanic participants in the normative sample was 12.3 years. The current samples mean score of 3.55 ( SD = .57) was somewhat higher than that reported by

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56 Marin et al. for their community based sample, but was comparable to mean scores found in other studies with educational levels comparable to that of the present sample. For example, Caldera, Robitschek, Frame,and Pannell (2003) reported a mean SASH acculturation score of 3.49 ( SD = .60) in their sample of 98 Mexican American college women. Similarly, in a young, mostly female sample with either some college or college degree, Valentine (2001) reported a mean SASH acculturation score of 3.30 ( SD = .77). With regard to acculturative stress scores, Mena et al. (1987) reported a mean score of 30.2 on the SAFE for their mixed gender and ethnically diverse normative sample of college students. Perez et al. also found a mean score ( M = 30.48, SD = 14.16) among their ethnically diverse sample of college women. The mean acculturative stress score on the SAFE for the present sample of Latina women was 47.16 ( SD = 9.77), which is somewhat higher than that found by Mena et al. (1987) and by Perez et al. (2002). However, Mena et al. and Perez et al. examined acculturative stress in ethnically diverse samples and the present studys results are consistent with the higher mean SAFE scores found in other studies conducted specifically on Latino immigrant samples. For example, Miranda and Matheny (2000) reported a SAFE mean score of 78.3 ( SD = 11.6) in their sample of primarily immigrant generation Latinos from various Latin American countries and Hovey and Magaa (2002) reported a mean of 56.4 ( SD = 19.7) on the SAFE in their sample of Mexican migrant farm workers. Hovey (2000) also reported a mean SAFE score of 49.90 ( SD = 18.56) among 76 Mexican immigrant women enrolled in ESL classes at a community college. In their theoretical review of research on acculturation and acculturative stress, Smart and Smart (1995) suggested that Latinos may have higher average acculturative stress levels than other immigrant populations due to multilevel

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57 sociopolitical and sociocultural stressors. Therefore, it seems reasonable that the mean SAFE score for the current Latina women sample would be somewhat higher than that found in the ethnically diverse normative sample, even though both were primarily college samples. Interrelations Among Variables of Interest To provide an initial examination of preconditions for the mediational hypotheses, interrelations among the variables of interest were examined using partial correlations, controlling for age and BMI (see Table 4-1). As described by Baron and Kenny (1986), in order for a variable to be considered a mediator, the following three criteria must be met: (a) the predictor and mediator must be related significantly, (b) the mediator and criterion must be related significantly, and (c) the predictor and criterion must be related significantly. Preliminary inspection of the data based on these correlations indicated that preconditions for Hypothesis 1 were not met. Preconditions for Hypothesis 2 and Hypothesis 3 were met. Hypothesis 1 The expected positive relation of accultura tion with internalization of cultural beauty standards was not significant and, theref ore, an indirect (i.e., mediated) link from acculturation, through internalization of cultural beauty standards, to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms could not be tested. Hypothesis 2 Internalization of cultural beauty standards was expected to relate directly and positively to self-objectification, to body shame, and to eating disorder symptomatology. Furthermore, the link from internalization to eating disorder symptomatology was expected to be mediated partially by both self-objectification and body shame. Consistent

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58 with these expectations, partial correlations indicated significant positive links from internalization of cultural beauty standards to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms. Also, the mediational roles of self-objectification and body shame in the relation of internalization of cultural beauty standards to eating disorder symptoms received initial support. According to the correlational data presented in Table 4-1, all three criteria are satisfied for the mediations. In other words, in addition to the significant positive links from internalization to all thr ee variables, significant positive relations were found between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms as well as between body shame and eating disorder symptoms. Thus, the significance of these mediations could be tested (described under path analyses). Hypothesis 3 Hypothesis 3 proposed that self-objectifica tion would be related to eating disorder symptoms and that this relation would be partially mediated by body shame. Partial correlations indicated that self-objectification was significantly and positively related to both body shame and eating disorder symptoms. Body shame and eating disorder symptoms were also significantly and positively linked. Thus, preconditions for Hypothesis 3 were met and the significance of the mediation could be tested (described under path analyses). Hypothesis 4 Hypothesis 4 called for an exploratory analysis of the relation of acculturative stress to all other variables of interest. Initial inspection of partial correlations suggested that acculturative stress was related to both body shame and eating disorder symptoms. Based on Baron & Kennys (1986) recommendations regarding mediational relationships, it may be that acculturative stress was related indirectly to eating disorders through the

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59 mediational role of body shame. This and other direct and indirect links were then examined through path analysis. Acculturative stress also had a significant negative correlation with acculturation, which is consistent with the definitions of these two constructs as well as with prior research (e.g., Berry, 2003; Hovey & Magaa, 2002). Path Analyses Test of Originally Hypothesized Model Path analysis using AMOS 5.0 (Arbuckle, 2003) was used to test the fit of the data to the proposed model (presented in Figure 2-1) and allow for testing the significance of mediations for which preconditions were met. As mentioned previously, age and BMI were controlled as covariates in the model. Maximum likelihood estimation was used with the covariance matrix of the variables of interest as input. Figure 4-1 presents the results for Model 1 (the originally proposed model) with all standardized path coefficients. Several goodness-of-fit indices for Model 1 were indicative of a good-fitting model, including the Goodness-of-Fit index (G FI) = .99, Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = 1.00, Non-Normed Fit Index (also known as Tucker-Lewis Index [NNFI/TLI]) = 1.06, and Root Mean Square Error of Appr oximation (RMSEA) = .00. Recommended values of > .90 for GFI, CFI, and NFI indicate a good-fitting model, while RMSEA is recommended to be at or below a value of .05 (Kline, 1998). The NNFI/TLI is considered to be one of the fit indices least affected by sample size and can be valued above 1, unlike GFI and CFI, which vary between 0 and 1. The overall model accounted for 44% of the variance in eating disorder symptoms, 31% of the variance in body shame, 22% of th e variance in self-objectification, and 13% of the variance in internalization of cultural beauty standards. As shown in Figure 4-1, direct paths from internalization of cultural beauty standards to self-objectification, body

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60 shame, and eating disorders all were significant and positive. Direct paths from selfobjectification to body shame and eating disorders, as well as from body shame to eating disorders, also were significant and positive. These results indicated that the originally hypothesized model was mostly supported by the data, with some modifications. More specifically, all expected relations were consistent with the data, with the exception that relations of acculturation to the other variables of interest, as predicted by Hypothesis 1, were not supported. Modified Model Including Acculturative Stress Although Model 1 was a good fit and explained a total of 44% of the variance in eating disorder symptomatology, there was no significant unique link from acculturation to internalization of cultural beauty standards, as expected in the hypothesized model. In light of this finding and to explore the role of acculturative stress in the model, a new model was created that incorporated acculturative stress based on an examination of the partial correlation matrix and the results of Model 1. This alternative model, identified as Model 2, included all the expected direct and indirect paths from internalization of cultural beauty standards to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms that were proposed in Hypotheses 2 and 3 and that were substantiated in Model 1. In addition, Model 2 included direct paths from acculturative stress to body shame and eating disorder symptomatology as well as an indirect link from acculturative stress to eating disorder symptoms, through body shame. As with Model 1, BMI and age were controlled as covariates in the path analysis. Figure 4-2 represents Model 2, including all standardized path coefficients. Goodness-of-fit indices were indicative of a good-fitting model (GFI = .99, CFI = 1.00, NNFI/TLI = .98, RMSEA = .04). Similar to Model 1, the model accounted for 44%

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61 of the variance in eating disorder symptoms, 35% of the variance in body shame (an increase from the 31% accounted for by Model 1), and 22% of the variance in selfobjectification. As can be seen in Figure 4-2, all standardized path coefficients were significant, indicating significant unique direct links. In addition to the direct links found in Model 1, direct paths from acculturative stress to body shame and to eating disorder symptoms also were significant and positive. According to these results, the direct links predicted in Hypotheses 2 and 3 were consistent with the result of the path analyses. That is, internalization of cultural beauty standards was related directly and positively to selfobjectification, which, in turn, was related directly and positively to body shame, which, in turn, was related directly and positively to eating disorder symptoms. Additionally, internalization of cultural beauty standards also was related directly and positively to body shame and eating disorder symptoms. Self-objectification also was related directly and positively to eating disorder symptoms. Not specifically hypothesized, but explored as proposed in Hypothesis 4, acculturative stress was related directly and positively to body shame as well as eating disorder symptoms. Testing Significance of Mediations The significance of mediational relations proposed in the hypotheses were tested using the path coefficients for Model 2 as this model contained all possible significant relations among variables. Cohen and Cohen (1983) recommended multiplication of path coefficients to compute magnitude of indir ect links. This procedure was used along with Sobels formula (Baron & Kenny, 1986; Sobel, 1982) for calculating the significance of indirect links, which indicates significance of mediation. As proposed in Hypothesis 2, internalization of cultural beauty standards, through self-objectification as a mediator, had a significant indirect link of .12 (.35 x .34; z = 2.89, p = .004) with body shame and a

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62 significant indirect link of .07 (.35 x .21; z = 2.15, p = .031) with eating disorder symptoms. Consistent with Hypothesis 3, self-objectification, through body shame as a mediator, had a significant indirect link of .07 (.34 x .22; z = 2.12, p = .034) with eating disorder symptoms. Acculturative stress, through body shame as a mediator, had a significant indirect link of .06 (.26 x .22; z = 1.93, p = .05) with eating disorder symptoms. Thus, all of the expected mediations predicted by Hypotheses 2 and 3 were supported by the data. An additional indirect link from acculturative stress to eating disorder symptoms through body shame as a mediator was also found. The indirect links predicted in Hypothesis 1 could not be te sted and were not supported given that acculturation was not related significantly to any of the other variables of interest. Summary of Findings As predicted by Hypothesis 2, internalization of cultural beauty standards was related directly and positively to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder symptomatology. Also as predicted by Hypothesis 2, the link between internalization of cultural beauty standards and eating disorder symptoms was mediated partially by selfobjectification and body shame. As predicte d by Hypothesis 3, self-objectification was related positively and directly to eating disorders symptoms and this link also was mediated partially by body shame. Hypothesis 4 called for an exploration of the link between acculturative stress and the other vari ables of interest. Acculturative stress was related directly and positively to eating disorder symptoms and this relation was mediated partially by body shame. Acculturation was not related to any of the other variables of interest.

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63 Table 4-1. Summary Statistics and Partial Correlations Among Variables of Interest with Age and BMI Controlled (N=112) Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 Possible Range Sample Range M SD 1. Selfobjectification 1-7 1.007.00 4.33 1.15 .83 2. Internalization .35** 8-40 8.0040.00 23.34 7.22 .87 3. Body shame .44** .36** 1-7 1.006.25 3.01 1.27 .81 4. Eating disorder symptoms .45** .54** .49** 26-156 31.0099.00 59.82 16.19 .87 5. Acculturation .01 .04 -.06 -.06 1-5 2.254.83 3.55 .57 .88 6. Acculturative stress .13 .09 .33** .26* -.38** 0-120 28.0080.00 47.16 9.77 .87 Note p < .005. ** p <.001. Higher scores indicate higher levels of the construct assessed. Figure 4-1. Model 1, controlling for BMI and age, with standardized path coefficients shown. All paths are significant at p < .05. Figure 4-2. Model 2, controlling for BMI and age, with standardized path coefficients. All paths are significant at p < .05. Acculturation Internalization SelfObject. Body Shame Eat. D/O Symptoms .13 .35 .22 .31 .44 .04 .24 .21 .36 .27 .40 Internalization SelfObject. Body Shame Eat. D/O Symptoms Accult. Stress .22 .35 .44 .35 .34 .22 .23 .41 .21 .26 .13

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64 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The literature has provided extensive support for an integration of sociocultural factors in understanding the etiology of eating disorders among women (Gordon, 2001; Groesz et al., 2002; Rodin et al., 1984; Pate et al., 1992; Stice, 1994; Striegel-Moore & Cachelin, 2001; Vandereycken & Hoek, 1992). Objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) combines the empirical and theoretical support for such an understanding into a testable model of the sociocultural factors that may shape eating disorder symptomatology in women. Support has accumulated for several of the propositions of objectification theory; specifically, that sexually objectifying cultural contexts for women may lead to self-objectification (Fredricks on et al., 1998; Moradi et al., 2005; Morry & Staska, 2001) and that self-objectification pr edicts eating disorder symptomatology both directly and indirectly, through the mediati ng role of body shame (Fredrickson et al.; Moradi et al.; Morry & Staska; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). The most recent studies on objectification theory have also integrated internalization of cultural beauty standards into the model and it appears that this internalization may be the mechanism by which sexually objectifying cultural contexts shape self-objectification in women (Moradi et al.; Morry & Staska). Although recent reported incidence rates of eating disorders among women of color have increased (Crago et al., 1996; Striegel-Moore & Smolak, 2000), most of the research on objectification theory and its correlates has been conducted on primarily White/European American women. The present study addressed this gap in the literature

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65 by extending objectification theory to a model applicable for Latina women. No prior research has specifically examined the tenets of objectification theory in Latinas. All of the hypothesized relations among variables specific to objectification theory, as well as internalization of cultural beauty standards, were supported by the results for this sample of Latina women. Acculturative stress was also found to play a significant role in understanding eating disorder symptoms in the present sample. Accordingly, the results of this study indicate that objectification theory can be applied to Latinas, with the added culturally relevant variables of internalization of cultural beauty standards and acculturative stress. Similar to previous findings among samples of mostly White/European American women (Fredrickson et al., 1998; Moradi et al.,2005; Morry & Staska, 2001; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001), results with the present sample of Latina women indicated that each of the variables relevant to objectification theory (i.e., self-objectification, body shame, and the most recently incorporated variable of internalization of cu ltural beauty standards) are related directly and uniquely to eating disorder symptomatology. Additionally, the present results suggested that self-objectification and body shame also partially mediated the link of internalization of cultural beauty standards to eating disorder symptoms. Based on these findings and the results of previous research, it appears that for Latinas as well as for White/European American women, increased internalization of cultural beauty standards is related to increased self-objectification, which is linked with increased body shame, which, in turn, is related to eating disorder symptoms. In addition to this series of

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66 mediated links, internalization, self-objectification, and body shame each are related uniquely and directly to eating disorder symptomatology. Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) proposed that objectification theory is applicable to women of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to the extent that all women, regardless of ethnicity, are embedded within patriarchal, sexually objectifying cultural contexts. The current findings indicate that this proposition may be true, at least in extending objectification theory to Latinas. However, the results of this study also suggest that the ethnocultural variable of acculturative stress is an important addition to objectification theory in extending its applicability to understanding eating disorder symptomatology among Latinas. The results indicated that acculturative stress was related significantly and uniquely to both greater body shame and eating disorder symptoms among Latinas. Furthermore, body shame was a partial mediator of the link from acculturative stress to eating disorder symptoms in the present sample of Latinas. These results are consistent with the only other known study that examined the role of acculturative stress in eating disorders, in which acculturative stress was found to contribute to variance in bulimia symptoms (Perez et al., 2002). The present results suggest that acculturative stress is an important sociocultural factor associated with both body shame and eating disorder symptomatology in Latinas and should be included as an additional component when examining objectification theory among Latinas. Contrary to the significant role of acculturative stress in the present results, hypothesized relations between acculturation and the other variables under study were not supported. Acculturation was expected to relate positively and directly to internalization of cultural beauty standards a nd indirectly to increased self-objectification,

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67 body shame, and eating disorder symptoms. These expectations were based on past research suggesting that acculturation may be related positively with eating disorder symptoms (Cachelin et al., 2000; Chamorro & Flores-Ortiz, 2000; Franko & Herrera, 1997; Pumariega, 1986). However, most of the previous studies that found a positive link between acculturation and eating disorder symptoms examined acculturation either very narrowly (Cachelin et al.), measuring acculturation based primarily on generation level and English language preference, or used measures of acculturation that are not well validated (Franko & Herrera; Pumariega). In a review of research on ethnic differences in eating disorders, Gilbert (2003) postulated that one of the various limitations of eating disorder research among women of color is inconsistency in the use of valid acculturation measures and that improper measurement of acculturation fails to consider the multidimensional aspects of acculturation. In addition, even when a well-validated measure of acculturation was used (Chamorro & Flores-Ortiz), analyses did not control for the important role of BMI when examining the relation between acculturation and eating disorder symptoms. The present study used a measure of acculturation that has been well validated and has been used extensively in acculturation research (SASH; Marin et al., 1987). The present study also accounted for the role of BMI and used path analytic techniques to assess more complex interrelationships among all of the variables under study. Indeed, Lester and Petrie (1995) found similar results when they also measured acculturation with a well-validated measure (ARSMA; Cuellar et al., 1980) and conducted regression analyses accounting for the role of both BMI and sociocultural beliefs about attractiveness (a construct comparable to internalization of cultural beauty standards).

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68 Their findings, similar to the present study, indicated that acculturation did not account for unique variance in bulimia symptoms among their sample of Mexican American undergraduate university women, though both BMI and sociocultural beliefs about attractiveness did. Another study conducted with a sample of Mexican American adolescent girls similarly did not find a link between acculturation and eating disorder symptoms (Joiner & Kashubeck, 1996). The lack of a significant relationship in the current study between acculturation and either internalization of cultural beauty standards or eating disorders may have been due to a true lack of relationship between these variables, once the roles of BMI and age are considered. On the other hand, the current sample had a high mean acculturation score on the SASH compared to the normative sample, perhaps indicating that this sample of Latinas is not representative of the full range of acculturation among the U.S. population of Latinas. Consequently, this study should be replicated with a sample having a wider range of acculturation scores in order to determine whether restricted range may have affected the current results. Nevertheless, the accumulated knowledge seems to suggest that either there is not a true relationship between acculturation and eating disorders or that the relationship is complex and is subsumed by the roles of BMI, age, internalization of cultural beauty standards, and acculturative stress. Furthermore, it appears that the stress associated with the acculturation process (rather than acculturation in general) is a critical variable to consider in extending objectification theory to Latinas. The current findings indicate that it is not the process of becoming more acculturated to U.S. society that is related to Latina womens levels of body shame and eating disorder symptoms, but rather the extent to which that process is

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69 experienced as stressful that is linked to increased body shame and increased tendency to exhibit eating disorder symptoms. This interpretation also is supported by Moyerman and Forman (1992), who conducted a meta-analysis of research on the relationship between acculturation and various adjustment variables, including self-esteem, locus of control, family conflict, anxiety/stress, intelligence, and psychosocial/health. Based on an examination of overall effect sizes, they concluded that acculturation did not have a consistent relationship with any of the adjustment measures. They also concluded that anxiety/stress was highest at the beginning of the acculturation process and decreased with greater acculturation, which is consistent with the concept of acculturative stress as well as with the significant negative correlation found in this study between the two variables. It is important to note, however, that despite a significant negative correlation between acculturation and acculturative stress, the mean scores for both of these scales were somewhat high for the present sample. Th is indicates, as has been proposed by other authors (Smart & Smart, 1995), that acculturative stress may be a particularly relevant mental health concern for Latinas in general and in particular as a risk factor for eating disorders, even among those who are highly acculturated. Additionally, neither acculturative stress nor acculturation was linked to internalization of cultural beauty standards in the current sample. It has been proposed that the risk for developing eating disorders in women of color may relate to attempts to emulate a beauty ideal based on White/European American standards of beauty (Thompson, 1996). This might mean that either acculturation or acculturative stress, perhaps experienced from comparing oneself to White/European American beauty standards, might be associated with internalization of cultural beauty standards. The

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70 current results indicate that neither general acculturation nor acculturative stress is related to internalization of cultural beauty standards. It may thus be argued that such internalization is more likely, as found by both Moradi et al. (2005) and Morry and Staska (2001), to occur uniquely from gender related sexually objectifying cultural experiences in which all women in general find themselves. Therefore, as postulated by Fredrickson and Roberts (1997), the results of this study suggest that Latina women may be as likely to self-objectify as White/European American women and in turn be at risk for body shame and eating disorders due to being embedded within a sexually objectifying patriarchal cultural context. The present results indicate that, in addition to internalization of cultural beauty standards and self-objectification, acculturative stress is an important risk factor for both body shame and eating disorders among Latinas and should be considered in any examination of the cultural factors associated with eating disorders for Latinas. Limitations and Future Directions Although the current study adds to research supporting objectification theory by extending its applicability to Latina women, several limitations should be considered when interpreting its findings. As mentioned above, the somewhat high average acculturation level of this sample may have affected the lack of an observed relationship between acculturation and other variables of interest. On the other hand, the research on the relationship between acculturation and eating disorders is equivocal and more clarity on the association between these variables would be provided by continued research using appropriately validated measures of acculturation. The effects of age in this sample were an interesting finding that were not specifically hypothesized and lends further support to previous findings that self-objectification tends to decrease with increased age

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71 (Greenleaf, 2005). More research is needed on the relationship between age and the variables associated with objectification theory. Another limitation of this study was the use of self-reported weight and height to make calculations about actual body size through BMI. The potential exists for inaccuracy in self-reports and future studies should be conducted in which women are actually weighed using a scale and have their heights measured as well. On the other hand, this limitation exists for the majority of eating disorder research and Heymsfield et al. (1995) recommended BMI as a practical self-report measure of human body composition given that most people tend to know their approximate height and weight and any potential systematic bias would be unimportant in studies where BMI is correlated with other variables. It is also important to recognize that, though path analytic research is helpful in assessing complex relationships among several variables and in determining which relationships among the variables are the most important, the results are still correlational. Experimental research is needed to test the inferences about the direction of the relationships from internalization of cultural beauty standards to selfobjectification, to body shame, and to eating disorder symptoms, as well as from acculturative stress to body shame and to eating disorder symptoms. Although the present study begins to provide support for the applicability of objectification theory to women of color, these results can only be generalized to women of Latino/Hispanic background. Therefore, future research should attempt to replicate the current findings in women of other ethnic/cultural groups, taking into consideration any other variables that may be of particular interest in that population. It would also be interesting to replicate this study with samples of women whose backgrounds are from

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72 different Latin American countries as well as examine differences among Latinas of varying racial compositions. As was noted by responses to the demographic question about ethnic/racial self-identification, not all Latinas self-identify as just Latina. More research is also needed on the factors that contribute to eating disorders in men. Another related issue is that these results are only generalizable to nonclinical populations and primarily college students. However, it has been found that Latinas are less likely to be identified as having an eating disorder when symptoms exist (Gordon, Perez, & Joiner, 2002) and have differential access to treatment for eating disorders (Becker, Franko, Speck, & Herzog, 2003). Therefore, clinical samples of Latinas may not capture the full extent of the impact of self -objectification and related variables on eating disorders among Latinas. Epidemiological research is needed to examine the prevalence of eating disorders among Latinas as well as other women of color. It was relevant to the purpose of this study to recruit a community-based sample in addition to university students and future research could also focus either primarily or exclusively on community-based samples. Conducting similar research with clinical samples would also provide an understanding of the relevance of objectification theory among Latinas who are in treatment for eating disorders. This study extends the research on eating disorders in general and objectification theory in particular by providing a comprehensive model that can be applied to the understanding of eating disorders among Latina women. The current results highlight the important role that acculturative stress may play in eating disorders among Latinas and further research is needed in this area. Acculturative stress research in general is in early development and only one previous study was found that evaluated the role of

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73 acculturative stress in eating disorders (Perez et al., 2002). Future research could focus on which factors contribute to acculturative stress and which aspects of acculturative stress affect eating disorders. Implications for Practice This research also has important implications for clinical practice. Clinicians should be aware of the extent to which the women they work with, including Latinas, have internalized cultural standards of beauty, especially for those who clearly have experienced examples of sexually objectifying contexts, such as incest, sexual assault, or harassment. Women should be educated about the potential mental health consequences of internalization of cultural beauty sta ndards, including self-objectification and body shame, which can then lead to eating disorder symptoms. For clinicians working with Latinas in particular, it is important to understand the role of acculturative stress in body shame and eating disorder symptoms. The results of this study indicate that acculturation may not play a significant role in eating disorders. Therefore, Latinas from all acculturation levels may be at comparable levels of risk for developing eating disorders. However, clinicians should attend to the various sociocultural stressors that Latinas they work with have experienced and how these may contribute to acculturative stress and by extension to body shame and eating disorders.

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74 APPENDIX DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONS The following questions are for demographic purposes, to get a sense of who you are. Please fill in your responses or circle the number for the appropriate response to each question. 1. Age ______ 2. Sex/Gender _______ 3. Height __________ 4. Weight ___________ 5. How would YOU describe your ethnicity/race? (If multiracial, mark all that apply.) 1 = African-American/Black (non-Hispanic) 2 = American Indian or Alaskan Native 3 = Asian or Pacific-Islander 4 = European-American/White (non-Hispanic) 5 = Latina(o)/Hispanic White 6 = Latina(o)/Hispanic Black 7 = Other (Specify: _____________) 6. How would OTHERS describe your ethnicity/race? (If multiracial, mark all that apply.) 1 = African-American/Black (non-Hispanic) 2 = American Indian or Alaskan Native 3 = Asian or Pacific-Islander 4 = European-American/White (non-Hispanic) 5 = Latina(o)/Hispanic White 6 = Latina(o)/Hispanic Black 7 = Other (Specify: _____________) 7. What is your estimated average household income? (Refer to your parents income level if you live with them or are a dependent). 1 = below $15,000 annually 2 = $15,000 $20,000 annually 3 = $21,000 $30,000 annually 4 = $31,000 $50,000 annually 5 = $51, 000 $100,000 annually 6 = $101,000 $200,000 annually 7 = above $200,000 annually 8. What is your sexual orientation? 1 = heterosexual 2 = gay or lesbian 3 = bisexual

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75 4 = transgendered or other 9. Where were you born? 1 = U.S.A. (not including Puerto Rico) 2 = Mxico 3 = Cuba 4 = Puerto Rico 5 = Central/South America (Specify Country: _________________) 6 = Other (Specify Country: _________________) 10. Where were your parents born? (If parent s were each born in different countries, circle both and indicate each by writing in an M next to your mothers country of birth and an F next to your fathers country of birth.) 1 = U.S.A. (not including Puerto Rico) 2 = Mxico 3 = Cuba 4 = Puerto Rico 5 = Central/South America (Specify Country: _________________) 6 = Other (Specify Country: _________________) 11. Answer this question only if you were born in the U.S. Please indicate whether you are: 1 = 1st generation (parents not born in the US) 2 = 2nd generation American (parents were the first in their families born in the US) 3 = 3rd generation American (grandparents were the first in their families born in the US) 4 = Other (family has been in the US for more than 3 generations) 12. If you were born outside of the U.S., at what age did you first arrive? _________ 13. How well do you read and understand English? 1 = very poorly 2 = poorly 3 = fairly well 4 = well 5 = very well 14. Based on your level of English reading ability, do you feel that you understood the questions in this survey enough to provide accurate responses? 1 = Yes 2 = No

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76 LIST OF REFERENCES Altabe, M. (1998). Ethnicity and body image: Quantitative and qualitative analysis. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 23, 153-159. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic & statistical manual of mental disorders. (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. Arbuckle, J. L. (2003). Amos (Version 5.0) [Com puter software]. Chicago: SmallWaters Corporation. Argyle, M., & Williams, M. (1969). Observer or observed: A reversible perspective in person perception. Sociometry, 32, 396-412. Balls Organista, P., Organista, K. C., & Ku rasaki, K. (2003). The relationship between acculturation and ethnic minority mental health. In K. M. Chun, P. Balls Organista, & G. Marin (Eds.), Acculturation: Advances in theory, measurement, and applied research (pp. 139-161). Washington, DC: Amer ican Psychological Association. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical consideration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51 1173-1182. Beck, A. T., Ward, C. H., Mendelsohn, M., Mock, J., & Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561-571. Becker, A. E., Franko, D. L., Speck, A. & Herzog, D. B. (2003). Ethnicity and differential access to care for eating disorder symptoms. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 33, 205-212. Berry, J. W. (1980). Acculturation as varieties of adaptation. In A. Padilla (Ed.), Acculturation: Theory, models, and findings (pp. 9-25). Boulder, CO: Westview. Berry, J. W. (2003). Conceptual approaches to acculturation. In K. M. Chun, P. Balls Organista, & G. Marin (Eds.), Acculturation: Advances in theory, measurement, and applied research (pp. 17-37). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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77 Berry, J. W., Trimble, J. E., & Olmedo, E. L. (1986). Assessment of acculturation. In W. J. Lenner & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Field methods of cross-cultural research (pp. 291349). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Brown, T. A., Cash, T. F., & Mikulka, P. J. (1990). Attitudinal body-image assessment: Factor analyses of the Body-Self Relations Questionnaire. Journal of Personality Assessment, 55, 135-144. Bugental, J. F. T., & Zelen, S. L. (1950) Investigations into the self-concept: The W-A-Y technique. Journal of Personality, 18, 483-498. Cachelin, F. M., Veisel, C., Barzegarnazar i, E., & Striegel-Moore, R. H. (2000). Disordered eating, acculturation, and treatment-seeking in a community sample of Hispanic, Asian, Black, and White women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 244-253. Cashel, M. L., Cunningham, D., Landeros, C., Cokley, K. O. & Muhammad, G. (2003). Sociocultural attitudes and symptoms of bulimia: Evaluating the SATAQ with diverse college groups. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50, 287-296. Caldera, Y. M., Robitschek, C., Frame, M., & Pannell, M. (2003). Interpersonal, familial, and cultural factors in the commitment to a career choice of Mexican American and non-Hispanic White college women. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50, 309323. Cary, M. S. (1978). Does civil inattention exist in pedestrian passing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 1185-1193. Cash, T. F., & Henry, P. E. (1995). Women's body images: The results of a national survey in the U.S.A. Sex Roles, 33, 19-28. Chamorro, R., & Flores-Ortiz, Y. (2000). Acculturation and disordered eating patterns among Mexican American women. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 28, 125-129. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Crago, M., Shisslak, C. M., & Estes, L. S. (1996). Eating disturbances among American minority groups: A review. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 19, 239-248. Crandall, C. S. & Martinez, R. (1996). Culture, ideology, & anti-fat attitudes. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 1165-1176.

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78 Cooper, P. J., Taylor, M. J., Cooper, Z., & Fairburn, C. G. (1987). The development and validation of the body shape questionnaire. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 6, 485-494. Cuellar, I., Harris, L. C., & Jasso, R. (1980). Ab acculturation scale for Mexican American normal and clinical populations. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 2, 199-217. Demarest, J., & Allen, R. (2000). Body image: Gender, ethnic, & age differences. The Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 465-472. Dion, K. L., Dion, K. K., & Keelan J. P. (1990) Appearance anxiety as a dimension of social-evaluative anxiety: Exploring the ugly duckling syndrome. Contemporary Social Psychology, 14, 220-224. Fitzgibbon, M. L., Spring, B., Avellone, M. E., Blackman, L. R., Pingitore, R., & Stolley, M. R. (1998). Correlates of binge eating in Hispanic, Black, & White women. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 24, 43-52. Franko, D. L., & Herrera, I. (1997). Body image differences in Guatemalan American and White college women. Eating disorders, 5, 119-127. Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T. (1997) Objectification theory: Toward understanding womens lived experiences and mental health risks Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 173-206. Fredrickson, B. L., Roberts, T., Noll, S. M., Quinn, D. M., & Twenge, J. M. (1998). That swimsuit becomes you: Sex differences in self-objectification, restrained eating, and math performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 269-284. Garner, D. M., & Garfinkel, P. E. (1979). The eating attitudes test: An index of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Psychological Medicine, 9, 273-279. Garner, D. M., Olmsted, M. P., Bohr, Y., & Garfinkel, P. E. (1982). The eating attitudes test: Psychometric features and clinical correlates. Psychological Medicine, 12, 871-878. Garner, D. M., Olmsted, M. P., & Polivy, J. (1983). Development and validation of a multidimensional eating disorder inventory for anorexia nervosa and bulimia. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2, 15-34. Garrow, J. S., & Webster, B. S. (1985). Quetelets Index (w/h2) as a measure of fatness. International Journal of Obesity, 9, 147-153. Gilbert, S. C. (2003). Eating disorders in women of color. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 444-455.

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82 Rodin, J., Silberstein, L. R., & Striegel-Moore, R. H. (1984). Women & weight: A normative discontent. In T. B. Sonderegger (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation Vol 32, Psychology & Gender (pp. 267-307). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. Roysircar-Sodowsky, G., & Virgil Maestas, M. (2000). Acculturation, ethnic identity, and acculturative stress: Evidence and measurement. In R. H. Dana (Ed.), Handbook of cross-cultural and multicultural personality assessment (pp. 131172). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Siever, M. D. (1994). Sexual orientation and gender as factors in socioculturally acquired vulnerability to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology 62 (2), 252-260. Smart, J. F., & Smart, D. W. (1995). Acculturative stress: The experience of the Hispanic immigrant. The Counseling Psychologist, 23, 25-42. Sobel, M. E. (1982). Asymptotic confidence inte rvals for indirect effects in structural equations models. In S. Leinhart (Ed.), Sociological methodology 1982 (pp. 290312). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Spitzer, R. L., Yanovski, S., Wadden, T., Wing, R., Marcus, M.D., Stunkard, A., Devlin, M., Mitchell, J., Hasin, D., & Horne, R. L. (1993). Binge eating disorders: Its further validation in a multisite study. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 13, 137-153. Stice, E. (1994). Review of the evidence for a sociocultural model of bulimia nervosa & an exploration of the mechanisms of action. Clinical Psychology Review, 14, 633661. Striegel-Moore, R. H., & Cachelin, F. M. (2001). Etiology of eating disorders in women. The Counseling Psychologist, 29, 635-661. Striegel-Moore, R. H., & Smolak, L. The influence of ethnicity on eating disorders in women. In R. M. Eisler, M. Hersen, & Mahwah (Eds.), Handbook of gender, culture, and health (pp. 227-253). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Striegel-Moore, R. H., Wilfley, D. E., Pike, K. M., Dohm, F. A., & Fairburn, C. G. (1999). Recurrent binge eating in Black American women: The New England womens health project. Unpublished manuscript. Stunkard, A. J., Sorensen, T., & Schulsinger, F. (1983). Use of the Danish Adoption Register for the study of obesity and thinness. In S. S. Kety, L. P. Rowland, R. L. Sidman, & S. W. Matthysse (Eds.), Genetics of neurological and psychiatric disorders (pp. 115-120). New York: Raven.

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83 Thelen, M. H., Farmer, J., Wonderlich, S., & Smith, M. (1991). A revision of the Bulimia-Test: The BULIT-R. Psychological Assessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 3, 119-124. Thompson, B. (1996) Multiracial feminist theo rizing about eating problems: Refusing to rank oppressions. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, 4, 104-114. Thompson, B. W. (1992). A way outa no way: Eating problems among African American, Latina, and White women. Gender & Society, 6, 546-561. Thompson, J. K., & Psaltis, K. (1988). Multiple aspects & correlates of body figure ratings: A replication & extension of Fallon & Rozin (1985). International Journal of Eating Disorders, 7, 813-817. Tiggeman, M., & Lynch, J. E. (2001). Body image across the life span in adult women: The role of self-objection. Developmental Psychology, 37, 243-253. Tiggeman, M., & Slater, A. (2001). A test of obj ectification theory in former dancers and non-dancers. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 25, 57-64. Valentine, S. (2001). Self-esteem, cultural identity, and generation status as determinants of Hispanic acculturation. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 23, 459-468. Vandereycken, W., & Hoek, H. W. (1992). Are eating disorders culture-bound syndromes? In K. A. Halmi (Ed.), Psychobiology and treatment of anorexia nervosa and bulimia (pp. 19-36). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press. Williamson, D. A., Davis, C. J., Bennett, S. M., Goreczny, A. J., & Gleaves, D. H. (1985). Development of a simple procedure for assessing body image disturbance. Behavioral Assessment, 11, 433-446. Zane, N., & Mak, W. (2003). Major approaches to the measurement of acculturation among ethnic minority populations: A content analysis and an alternative empirical strategy. In K. M. Chun, P. Balls Organista, & G. Marin (Eds.), Acculturation: Advances in theory, meaurement, and applied research (pp. 39-60). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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84 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH I am a Cuban American raised in Miami, FL. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, where I gra duated with honors in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology. I then attended the University of Miami and obtained a Master of Science in Education for mental health counseling in 1999. My psychotherapy training at the University of Miami included practicum experiences in its university-based community mental health center as well as at a transitional living facility for persons with severe mental illness. I returned to the University of Florida in Fall of 1999 to complete a Doctor of Philosophy degree in counseling psychology. I continued with practical training experiences at the University Counseling Center and at a forensic state psychiatric hospital. I also gained research knowledge and experience working in projects on emotional expressiveness, roles in the family environment, and posttraumatic stress among car crash survivors. I completed my first original research with a masters level thesis equivalency on body image and acculturation among Latinas. I have expanded on that research with the present dissertation study on the role of objectification theory and other sociocultural variables in eating disorder symptomatology among Latinas. I also continued my practical training with an internship at a community mental health center servicing low-income, multicultural, primarily Latino/Hispanic clients in Brooklyn, New York. After completing the one-year predoctoral internship, I have remained in New York for the past year and a half and

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85 continue to work in Brooklyn at an outpatient chemical dependency center affiliated with the institution where I completed my internship and servicing a similar population. I specialize in working with co-occuring substance abuse and mental health issues, including eating disorders, as well as with womens issues, multicultural issues, posttraumatic stress, domestic violence, and survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I consider myself a scientist-practitioner and have applied what I learned in completing this dissertation within my professional psychotherapy work.


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EATING DISORDERS AMONG LATINAS:
EXAMINING THE APPLICABILITY OF OBJECTIFICATION THEORY















By

GLORIA M. MONTES DE OCA


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005





























Copyright 2005

by

Gloria M. Montes de Oca

































This document is dedicated to my two mamis, Hilaria and Wilma Garcia, who could not
witness this accomplishment personally, though they surely witnessed it in spirit.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, and colleagues for

all their support and encouragement. I am very grateful to several friends that helped me

to collect data by allowing me access to their resources and contacts. I especially want to

thank Maricela Alvarado, who helped me collect the bulk of the data for this project. I

would also like to acknowledge my dissertation committee, a group of very strong and

accomplished academic women that are an inspiration. I am particularly grateful to my

dissertation committee chair, Bonnie Moradi, Ph.D., who was very helpful by providing

me positive and constructive feedback throughout this process.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

L IST O F T A B L E S ............................................... ....................... .......... vii

LIST OF FIGURES ............ ....... ......... .................. viii

ABSTRACT .............. ................. .......... .............. ix

CHAPTERS

1 IN TRODU CTION ................................................. ...... .................

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .................................... .......................... ........ 10

Objectification Theory: A Sociocultural Explanation for Eating Disorders .............12
Empirical Research on Objectification Theory .......................................................14
Applying Objectification Theory to Latinas............................................................ 26
Acculturation and Internalization of Cultural Beauty Standards Among Latinas......28
Purpose of the Present Study ...................................... ............ ....... .............. .38

3 M E T H O D .............................................................................4 0

P a rtic ip a n ts ........................................................................................................... 4 0
P ro c e d u re ................................ ................. ...................................................4 2
M e a su re s ................................ ....................................................4 3
Self-Obj ectification ................................. ........................................ 44
B o d y S h a m e ................................................................................................... 4 6
Eating Disorder Symptoms.................. ............. ........49
Internalization of Cultural Beauty Standards ........................................... 50
Acculturation ........... ......... 5..... ................51
A cculturative Stress................................................... 52
D em graphics ............................................ 53

4 R E S U L T S .............................................................................5 4

P relim in ary A n aly ses .............................................................................. 54
Descriptive Statistics .......................................................55
Interrelations Among Variables of Interest ..........................................................57









H y p o th e sis 1 ................................................................5 7
H y p oth esis 2 ................................................................5 7
H y p o th e sis 3 ................................................................5 8
H y p oth esis 4 ................................................................5 8
Path Analyses...................... .................................. 59
Test of Originally Hypothesized M odel ........................................ ............. 59
Modified Model Including Acculturative Stress ..................................... 60
Testing Significance of M ediations.................................... ....................61
Summary of Findings .............. ................... ............................. 62

5 D IS C U S S IO N ......... ............. ........... .... ........ ............... ................64

Limitations and Future Directions .............................................. 70
Im plications for Practice........................ .. ........... ........................... ............... 73

APPENDIX. DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONS ...................................... ............... 74

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ........................ .. ...................................................................76

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ..................................................................... ..................84
















TABLE

Table page

4-1. Summary statistics and partial correlations among variables of interest with age
and BM I controlled ............................................................. 63
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

2-1. Hypothesized model of objectification theory and acculturation links to eating
disorder sym ptom in L atinas.......................................................... ............... 39

4-1. Model 1, controlling for BMI and age, with standardized path coefficients
sh ow n ................................................................................63

4-2. Model 2, controlling for BMI and age, with standardized path coefficients............63















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

EATING DISORDERS AMONG LATINAS:
EXAMINING THE APPLICABILITY OF OBJECTIFICATION THEORY

By

Gloria M. Montes de Oca

December 2005

Chair: Bonnie Moradi
Major Department: Psychology

This study evaluated a model of objectification theory and other sociocultural

variables as they apply to understanding eating disorder symptoms among Latina women.

Objectification theory proposes that because women are embedded within sexually

objectifying cultural contexts, they learn to self-objectify, or view themselves from an

outsider's perspective as objects. Self-objectification then purportedly leads to increased

body shame and vulnerability to eating disorder symptomatology as well as other mental

health concerns in women. Prior research on eating disorder symptoms among Latinas

indicates that acculturation, acculturative stress, and internalization of cultural standards

of beauty that promote thinness in women may be additional important variables in

understanding eating disorder symptomatolgy among Latinas. This study examined

potential direct and indirect links among acculturation, acculturative stress,

internalization of cultural beauty standards, self-objectification, body shame, and eating

disorder symptoms in a sample of 112 Latinas.









Path analyses revealed that internalization of cultural beauty standards, self-

objectification, acculturative stress, and body shame all were related uniquely and

significantly to eating disorder symptoms. In addition, self-objectification and body

shame both partially mediated the relation between internalization of cultural beauty

standards and eating disorder symptoms. Body shame also partially mediated the link

between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms. Although no relationship was

found between acculturation and any of the other variables of interest, acculturative stress

was related significantly and uniquely to both body shame and eating disorder symptoms.

The link from acculturative stress to eating disorder symptoms was also partially

mediated by body shame. The results indicated that objectification theory, along with the

relevant variables of internalization of cultural beauty standards and acculturative stress,

may be applied to understand eating disorder symptoms among Latinas. Implications of

findings and directions for future research are discussed.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Eating disorders are significantly more prevalent among women than men, as well

as among Western and industrialized nations than less developed nations (American

Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000; Pate, Pumariega, Hester, & Garner, 1992), though

they have recently been on the rise in non-Western, newly industrialized nations (Gordon,

2001). There is evidence that these gender and societal differences may be due to cultural

factors, such as Western cultural standards that promote thinness as ideal beauty in

women (Crandall & Martinez 1996; Stice, 1994; Vandereycken & Hoek, 1992). In a

review of the literature on the etiology of eating disorders, Striegel-Moore and Cachelin

(2001) described sociocultural contexts, including the thin beauty ideal and gender roles,

as major risk factors for developing eating disorders. Additionally, an extensive body of

research indicates that the media may represent the most notable socializing agent for this

cultural beauty ideal (Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002; Harrison & Cantor, 1997).

Research also suggests that body dissatisfaction, a diagnostic criterion for both anorexia

and bulimia (APA), is an integral part of women's socialization (Henderson-King &

Henderson-King, 1997; Stice). More specifically, this socialization results in a

"normative discontent" among women about their bodies (Rodin, Silberstein, & Striegel-

Moore, 1984).

Objectification theory, a sociocultural model developed by Fredrickson and

Roberts (1997), provides a useful framework for understanding how sociocultural factors

and gender socialization are linked to eating disorder symptomatology. The model can be









summarized as follows. Sexual objectification, which permeates the sociocultural

contexts in which women live, leads to "self-objectification," or viewing oneself from an

outsider's perspective. Self-objectification in turn leads to increases in appearance

anxiety, anxiety about safety, and body shame over not meeting cultural beauty

standards. These psychological and emotional consequences of self-objectification result

in increased depressive and anxiety disorders, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders.

Self-objectification is described as both a trait (i.e., experienced more chronically by

some women than others) and a state (i.e., more likely to occur in certain situations than

in others).

Empirical support has accumulated for objectification theory as it explains eating

disorders in samples of primarily White/European American women. For example, in a

study of the emotional consequences of self-objectification, Miner-Rubino, Twenge, and

Fredrickson (2002) found that self-objectification predicted body shame and depression

incrementally, beyond what was predicted by body dissatisfaction and other personality

variables. In another study, Fredrickson, Roberts, Noll, Quinn, and Twenge (1998) found

individual differences in self-objectification, lending support to the concept of trait self-

objectification. They also found that certain situations (e.g., trying on a swimsuit versus a

sweater) are more likely to trigger self-objectification, supporting the existence of state

self-objectification. Furthermore, they found that women in their sample were

significantly more likely than men to self-objectify and to experience greater body shame

when state self-objectification was triggered experimentally (i.e., trying on a swimsuit in

front of a full length mirror). Body shame, resulting form the experimental condition of









induced state self-objectification, in turn was predictive of restrained eating for women in

the study.

Several other studies found support for a link between self-objectification and

eating disorder symptoms, both directly and indirectly through the mediating role of body

shame (Greenleaf, 2005; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman

& Slater, 2001). For example, Tiggeman and Slater found that former ballet dancers

scored higher on trait self-objectification, self-surveillance, and eating disorder symptoms

than did non-dancers. Assuming that the ballet culture is one in which women are more

likely to be objectified and scrutinized, these results supported the notion that women

exposed to an intensely objectifying cultural context (i.e., ballet culture) are more likely

to self-objectify than those not exposed to such a context. Similarly, in a study of the

relationship of media exposure to eating behaviors, Morry and Staska (2001) found that,

among the women in their sample, increased exposure to beauty magazines, a

manifestation of an objectifying cultural context, was significantly positively associated

with self-objectification and eating disorder behaviors. However, these relationships were

fully mediated by level of internalization of cultural beauty standards of thinness as ideal.

Their results therefore suggested that exposure to beauty magazines is translated into self-

objectification and eating problems through internalization of these cultural beauty

standards.

Another recent study conducted by Moradi, Dirks, and Matteson (2005) also

highlighted the important additional role of internalization of cultural beauty standards

for mediating the relationship between sexually objectifying cultural experiences and

self-objectification. Their path analytic results showed significant positive links among









reported experiences of sexual objectification, internalization of cultural beauty

standards, self-objectification as indicated by body surveillance, body shame, and eating

disorder symptoms. Moradi et al. also found several mediator effects. Internalization of

cultural beauty standards mediated the link of reported experiences of sexual

objectification to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms. In

addition, self-objectification also mediated the link of reported sexual objectification

experiences to body shame. Similar to other studies, the link between self-objectification

an eating disorder symptomatology was also partially mediated by body shame.

Overall, data suggest that objectification theory is useful in explaining the high

prevalence rates of body shame and eating disorders among women of White/European

American background. Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) recognized, however, that their

theory was based on research conducted primarily on White/European American women.

They pointed out that this was mainly due to the very limited number of cross-cultural

studies on mental health issues in women.

The lack of research on eating disorders among women of color may be due in part

to the fact that eating disorders have historically been considered primarily a problem

among young, middle-class, White/European American women (Thompson, 1992). This

impression has begun to change, however, with increased reports of eating disorders

among women of color. For example, one recent study comparing Asian American,

African American, Latina, and White/European American women found all groups of

women were equally likely to exhibit symptoms of bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating

disorder (Cachelin, Veisel, Barzegarnazari, & Striegel-Moore, 2000). Additionally, eating

disorder prevalence rates have been on the rise since the early 1990's in non-Western









societies, such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which have not historically had

significant eating disorder rates (Gordon, 2001).

Consistent with the increasing prevalence of eating disorders, Fredrickson and

Roberts (1997) surmised that all women experience self-objectification because all

women are presumably socialized within a sexually objectifying cultural context. No

extant study, however, has attempted to examine the applicability of objectification

theory for explaining eating disorders in women of ethnic or racial backgrounds other

than White/European American. As a step toward addressing this gap in the literature, the

present study will focus on examining the propositions of objectification theory among

Latinas. Clearly such a study must attend also to the unique experiences of Latinas and

incorporate in the examination of objectification theory additional constructs that have

been linked with eating disorder related variables for Latinas.

Crago, Shisslak, and Estes (1996) reviewed the literature on eating disorders among

women of color and noted a paucity of studies specifically examining eating disorders

among Latinas. Their review of the few extant studies on Latinas suggested that Latinas

are as likely as White/European American women to develop eating disorders. Further,

some studies have found that Latinas have greater body dissatisfaction in comparison to

other women of color (Altabe, 1998; Fitzgibbon et al., 1998). According to the review by

Crago et al. (1996), one of the greatest risk factors among women of color for developing

eating disorders is identifying with White, middle-class cultural values. Indeed, several

studies found a relationship between acculturation and eating disorders. For example,

Cachelin et al. (2000) found that increased acculturation to U.S. culture was associated

with increased eating problems. They also found that, among those who met criteria for









eating disorders, women who were less acculturated were less likely to have received

treatment. In another study, Pumariega (1986) compared the eating attitudes of Latina

and White/European American adolescent girls. Although Latina girls' attitudes about

eating were generally comparable to those of White/European American girls, there was

a significant positive correlation between greater acculturation and eating disorder

symptoms. Similarly, Franko and Herrera (1997) found Guatemalan American women to

be significantly less likely to report body image and eating problems than

White/European American women in their sample. However, among the Guatemalan

American women, those with increased acculturation levels were significantly more

likely to report body dissatisfaction than those who were less acculturated.

Whereas the aforementioned studies focused on general acculturation, Lester and

Petrie (1995) examined the more specific variable of endorsement of U.S. sociocultural

values about attractiveness along with general acculturation. They found that subscribing

to U.S. sociocultural values about attractiveness was related to bulimic symptoms,

although general acculturation was not. Their results suggested that Latinas'

vulnerabilities to eating disorders are linked with internalization of U.S. cultural beauty

standards, a more specific aspect of the general process of acculturation. The

acculturation process has been described as one that is complex and multidimensional

(Berry, 2003). Therefore, assessing acculturation only as a general dimension may not

fully capture its relationship to eating disturbance. It may be that general acculturation is

linked with eating disorder related variables through its link with internalization of the

dominant cultural beauty standards.









Another important variable that may be linked to eating disorders among Latinas

is acculturative stress. Acculturative stress has been described as a psychological

outcome that occurs during the acculturation process when cultural norms from the host

culture are in conflict with the norms of the culture of origin (Berry, 2003). If the

acculturating individual interprets this conflict as particularly difficult to surmount and

problematic to his or her self-concept, acculturative stress may be experienced. This

stress reaction often makes acculturation, or adjustment to the host culture, a difficult and

lengthy process. According to one review of the literature on acculturation, acculturative

stress has been associated with a person's internal coping resources, available support

resources, and the types of stressors experienced (Roysircar-Sodowsky & Virgil Maestas,

2000). Furthermore, it is not considered an inevitable aspect of acculturation and

supportive extended family networks can serve a protective role against it (Berry; Balls

Organista, Organista, & Kurasaki, 2003). Whether or not one experiences acculturative

stress may be dependent on several factors. Increased acculturative stress has been

associated with earlier generation level in the U.S. (Padilla, Wagatsuma, & Lindholm,

1985), immigrating to the U.S. after about age 14 (Padilla, Alvarez, & Lindholm, 1986),

low self-esteem (Padilla et al., 1985), lower career self-efficacy (Miranda & Umhoefer,

1998), and depression and anxiety (Hovey & Magana, 2000).

A study conducted by Chamorro and Flores-Ortiz (2000) provided indirect

support for a link between acculturative stress and eating disturbances. These authors

examined the relationship between general acculturation to U.S. culture and eating

attitudes among five generations of Mexican American women. Their findings indicated

not only that increased acculturation was significantly related to increased eating









disturbance, but also that this association was strongest among the second-generation

women, who were born in the U.S. to parents who had immigrated from a Hispanic

country. One interpretation of this may be that the second-generation Latinas were

particularly susceptible to experiencing acculturative stress due to their recent contact

with some American sociocultural norms, such as cultural beauty standards. Attempting

to incorporate these norms while simultaneously trying to retain the norms associated

with their culture of origin may produce conflict in the form of acculturative stress among

some first and second generation Latinas in their quest to adapt to a host culture.

Only one study has evaluated directly the relationship between acculturative stress

and eating disorder symptoms among Latinas and other women of ethnically diverse

backgrounds. Perez, Voelz, Pettit, and Joiner (2002) found that increased body

dissatisfaction, acculturative stress, and the interaction between the two were significant

predictors of increased bulimic symptoms. Among those scoring high on acculturative

stress, higher levels of body dissatisfaction were related to higher levels of bulimic

symptoms. Among those scoring low on acculturative stress, the relationship between

body dissatisfaction and bulimic symptoms was weak and did not reach significance.

Therefore, acculturative stress appears to influence the relationship between body

dissatisfaction and bulimic symptoms among Latinas and other women of color.

Although there is little research on the impact of acculturative stress on eating disorder

symptoms, these results and other research linking acculturative stress to mental health

problems (Hovey & Magafia, 2000; Miranda & Umhoefer, 1998; Padilla et al., 1985),

suggest that the relationship between acculturative stress and eating disorders in Latinas

should be further explored.









In summary, several interrelated variables seem to be associated with eating

disorders among Latinas. These include acculturative stress, internalization of cultural

beauty standards, and acculturation through its relationship to this internalization.

Objectification theory offers a practical sociocultural model for understanding the

development of eating disorders that, with the addition of these culturally relevant

variables, may be applicable to Latinas. Thus, the present study integrates the empirically

supported propositions of objectification theory with extant research on eating disorders

among Latinas to examine a culturally appropriate version of objectification theory for

Latinas. More specifically, this study will examine empirically a model that assesses

direct and indirect (i.e., mediated) links of acculturation, internalization of cultural

standards of beauty, self-objectification, and body shame to eating disorder

symptomatology. In addition, the role of acculturative stress in the model will be

explored. Given the limited research on the role of acculturative stress in eating disorder

symptomatology among Latinas, however, examination of the role of acculturative stress

in the model will be strictly exploratory. The following chapter will include a thorough

description of the overall model for Latinas, including a description of objectification

theory, the research supporting it, and the variables that may be added for applying the

theory to Latinas. The following chapter will also provide a description of the purpose

and hypotheses for the current study.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

It is well documented that women are significantly more likely than men to be

diagnosed with eating disorders (APA, 2000). Extant literature suggests that the

prevalence and development of eating disorders are in part rooted in sociocultural

contexts, such as Western cultural standards, that promote thinness as ideal beauty in

women (Striegel-Moore & Cachelin, 2001; Vandereycken & Hoek, 1992). For example,

in a comprehensive review of the literature on bulimia, Stice (1994) cited extensive

research evidence suggesting that sociocultural pressures may affect the development and

maintenance of bulimia. He described several trends that may promote thin ideal images

for women, including increasingly thinner women in the media over the past few

decades, increasing numbers of dieting articles in women's magazines, and steadily

increasing rates of eating disorders among women from the 1960's through the 1990's. A

sociocultural model is also supported by evidence that eating disorders remain much

more prevalent among Western and industrialized nations, although incidence rates have

increased all over the world in recent decades (Gordon, 2001; Pate et al., 1992).

According to Gordon (2001), the steadily increasing eating disorder rates among

women in U.S. and Western European societies from the 1960's through the 1990's

coincided with shifts in female gender roles related to increasing participation in

employment and higher education. He noted that while the rates have leveled off in the

U.S., they have been steadily increasing since the 1990's in newly emerging

industrialized societies, such as Japan, China, Mexico, and Argentina. Gordon described









the rise of eating disorders as a "modern epidemic" that coincides with increasing

consumerism within societies that emphasize personal achievement and satisfaction. He

proposed that eating disorder rates reflect societal role conflicts for women. These

struggles between traditional female roles focusing on submissiveness and newly

emerging roles focusing on achievement may be associated with the development of

eating disorders and the larger social problem of body dissatisfaction.

Rodin et al. (1984) developed the concept of "normative discontent" to describe the

pervasive dissatisfaction with one's body that exists among women in U.S. society.

According to these scholars, American cultural standards promote an unrealistic ideal of

thinness for women. This unattainable ideal results in body dissatisfaction, which

inevitably leads to low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and depression in women. Indeed,

while body dissatisfaction has been established as a diagnostic criterion for both anorexia

and bulimia nervosa (APA, 2000), several studies found body image concerns among

women without diagnosed eating disorders (Cash & Henry, 1995; Demarest & Allen,

2000; Irving, 1990; Thompson & Psaltis, 1988). The normative nature of body

dissatisfaction is consistent with the notion that body dissatisfaction is an aspect of

gender socialization.

The research literature on media exposure to thin models further supports a

sociocultural perspective of eating disorders. Groesz et al. (2002) conducted a meta-

analysis of 25 studies on the effects of experimental manipulations of the thin beauty

ideal, through media exposure, on women's body images. They calculated 43 effect sizes

and examined the main effects of mass media images of the thin ideal as well as the

moderating effects of premorbid body image problems, age, number of stimulus









presentations, and type of research design. Results indicated that body satisfaction was

significantly more negatively affected by viewing thin media images than by viewing

other types of media, including average size models, overweight models, or inanimate

objects. This supports the notion that cultural context, in the form of mass media

portrayals of thin ideals, affects body dissatisfaction. Thus, a substantial body of

literature points to sociocultural roots of eating disorders. Objectification theory

(Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) provides a framework for understanding how this

sociocultural context results in eating disorders.

Objectification Theory: A Sociocultural Explanation for Eating Disorders

Objectification theory, proposed by Fredrickson and Roberts (1997), has made an

important contribution to the psychological literature on the link between women's

experiences and mental health. Fredrickson and Roberts grounded their tenets on

available empirical literature and argued that women's bodies are defined by and viewed

through a sociocultural lens. More specifically, they argued that women's experiences

and mental health risks are shaped by a culture in which they are constantly being

observed and evaluated based on how they look. Women are treated as objects for the

pleasure of others rather than as complete human beings. Fredrickson and Roberts

described frequent male "gaze," or visual inspection of the body, as one obvious example

of the ways women are sexually scrutinized and objectified. They cited evidence of the

abundance of such gaze from empirical research on interpersonal relations and media

representations of women's bodies and body parts. For example, extant data indicate that

women are more likely than men to be gazed upon and to feel gazed upon in

interpersonal situations (Argyle & Williams, 1969; Hall, 1984). Men are more likely than

women to engage in nonreciprocated gaze and make accompanying sexually evaluative









commentary (Cary, 1978; Henley, 1977). Visual media often depict men looking directly

at women, whereas media portrayals of women often emphasize body parts as

representations of the whole woman (Goffman, 1979; Sommers-Flanigan, Sommers-

Flanigan, & Davis, 1993; van Zoonen, 1994). Such evidence provides support for the

notion that women and their bodies are often objectified.

According to objectification theory, because women in American society are

socialized within a sexually objectifying cultural context, they learn early in life to view

themselves through a similar lens. Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) described this "self-

objectification" as internalization of an outsider's perspective on one's body. Some

women may be more chronically preoccupied with their appearance than others (i.e., trait

self-objectification). In addition, certain situations, most likely ones that are public, in

which men are present, and that have increased potential for visual scrutiny by others,

may trigger or magnify a state of self-objectification (i.e., state self-objectification).

According to objectification theory, all women experience self-objectification

irrespective of their level of body image satisfaction because self-objectification exists as

part of women's cultural socialization.

Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) suggested that self-objectification is manifested in

women's tendency to constantly monitor their own bodies and compare themselves with

impossible to reach cultural standards of beauty. This leads to a self-definition that is

based on what one looks like to the outside observer. Therefore, the consequences of self-

objectification are often feelings of shame for not living up to the cultural beauty ideal

(i.e., body shame). Additionally, women experience appearance anxiety based on

constantly being judged by their appearance, as well as anxiety related to their personal









safety due to the increased potential for violence against them. Their chronic self-

inspection, whether based on appearance anxiety or on an awareness of being objectified

by others, leads self-objectifying women to experience interruptions in concentration that

keep them from reaching "peak motivational states" when mental activities are most

productive. Finally, internalizing an observer's perspective leads women to be less

attentive to, or less aware of, their own internal bodily cues (e.g., increased heart-rate)

and to focus more on external cues for determining how to feel in certain situations.

Thus, self-objectification leads to increased shame and anxiety, decreased concentration

and mental activity, and decreased attention to internal bodily cues. These psychological

and emotional consequences of self-objectification in turn lead to eating disorders and

other mental health problems that have higher prevalence rates among women (e.g.,

depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction).

Empirical Research on Objectification Theory

Although objectification theory was published fairly recently, evidence for its

utility in understanding eating disorder symptomatology has been accumulating. Several

authors have examined empirically the extent to which aspects of objectification theory

explain eating disorders for samples of primarily White/European American women.

Much of this research has focused on and supported links among self-objectification,

body shame, and eating disorder symptomatology. For example, Noll and Fredrickson

(1998) developed a measure of trait self-objectification and examined the mediating role

of body shame in the link between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms.

They proposed that self-objectification would lead to increased body shame in women,

which would then lead to dieting. Dieting would lead to greater awareness of body shame

and body dissatisfaction, eventually spiraling into eating disorder behaviors. They also









hypothesized that the threat of body shame and fear of future weight gain would be

enough to lead some women to engage in disordered eating even if they were currently

satisfied with their bodies (i.e., did not experience body shame). Thus, self-objectification

would have a direct link to eating disorder behaviors as well as an indirect link, through

body shame, to these behaviors.

In order to test these hypotheses, Noll and Fredrickson (1998) developed and

administered two measures to two separate samples of undergraduate university women.

The Self-Objectification Questionnaire (SOQ) assessed concern with appearance

manifested through self-monitoring. In completing the SOQ, respondents are asked to

rank-order a list of 10 items consisting of 5 appearance based (e.g., physical

attractiveness) and 5 competence based (e.g., physical fitness) body attributes. Noll and

Fredrickson reported that the SOQ was shown to demonstrate good construct validity

based on correlations with other related measures. These authors also developed the Body

Shame Questionnaire (BSQ) to measure how likely one is to feel ashamed about one's

body. Composite scores are obtained by rating the frequency and intensity with which

one would like to change a list of 28 body attributes. As evidence of predictive validity,

the authors reported that BSQ scores accounted for unique variance in eating disorder

symptoms beyond that accounted for by other measures of general shame and

neuroticism.

Noll and Fredrickson (1998) also administered several measures of eating disorder

symptoms, including the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT; Garner & Garfinkel, 1979), a

general measure of eating disorder behaviors and body dissatisfaction, the Revised

Bulimia Test (BULIT-R; Thelen, Farmer, Wonderlich, & Smith, 1991), a measure of









bulimic symptoms, and the Revised Restraint Scale (Polivy, Herman, & Howard, 1988),

a measure of anorexia symptomatology (e.g., weight fluctuations, degree of chronic

dieting, attitudes toward weight and eating). Evidence of validity and reliability across

samples exists for each of these instruments. All measures were first administered to a

sample of 93 young adult women, most of whom were White/European American (3%

Latinas). The second sample consisted of 111 mostly White/European American young

adult women (6% Latina). The second study was a replication of the first and data for the

combined samples were analyzed using multiple regression techniques.

Results indicated that body shame partially mediated the relationship between self-

objectification and eating disorders on the general measure of eating disorder behaviors.

Similar patterns were found for each of the measures of bulimia and anorexia. More

specifically, consistent with their hypotheses, Noll and Fredrickson (1998) found that

self-objectification was linked directly and indirectly, through body shame, to disordered

eating.

Fredrickson et al. (1998) expanded this research by conducting experimental

manipulations of the model. They examined the relationship between self-objectification

and disordered eating as mediated by body shame. They also examined the emotional and

behavioral consequences of self-objectification for women versus men. In the first

experiment, they randomly assigned a sample of 72 undergraduate university women to

either an induced self-objectification condition (i.e., trying on a swimsuit) or a control

condition (i.e., trying on a crewneck sweater). The participants were mostly

White/European American undergraduate women (7% Latinas). Self-objectification and

body shame were measured using the aforementioned SOQ and the BSQ, respectively.









Fredrickson et al. also measured restrained eating behavior by recording the number of

cookies eaten (presented as part of a taste test).

Using hierarchical multiple regression analyses, Fredrickson et al. (1998) found

that beyond body mass index (BMI), both state and trait self-objectification predicted

body shame among the women in their sample. They also found that the interaction of

trait and state self-objectification predicted body shame, such that women in the swimsuit

condition who scored relatively high on trait self-objectification exhibited the highest

levels of body shame. Next, to determine whether body shame predicted restrained

eating, participants were classified into one of three restrained eating groups: true

restraint (if they ate less than half of one cookie), symbolic restraint (if they ate more than

half but less than one whole cookie), and no restraint (if they ate one whole or more

cookies). Using logistic regression analysis, Fredrickson et al. found that as body shame

increased, participants were significantly more likely to be in either the true restraint or

symbolic restraint groups than in the no restraint group. Additionally, participants with

very high levels of body shame were those most likely to engage in symbolic restraint, a

psychological refraining from the idea of eating a whole cookie. Thus, the findings of

their study support the notion that self-objectification is related to body shame, which in

turn is related to eating behavior.

In a second experiment, Fredrickson et al. (1998) selected 40 men and 42 women

from a group of undergraduate university students who had prescreening scores within

the highest and lowest quartiles of the SOQ. The same procedures and instruments were

used as in the first experiment. This experiment also included a manipulation check to

determine whether trying on a swimsuit actually induced a state of self-objectification.









This was assessed using a modification of the Twenty Statements Test (TST; Bugental &

Zelen, 1950) in which respondents wrote 20 statements regarding how they felt about

themselves while wearing the clothing item. Two independent coders classified responses

into categories reflecting feelings about body shape and size, physical appearance,

physical competence, traits or abilities, states or emotions, and uncodable responses.

Interrater agreement was high ( 84.5% for body shape and size statements and 83.8%

overall).

Fredrickson et al. (1998) conducted an ANCOVA, using BMI as a covariate, to

examine the effects of experimental condition, trait self-objectification, and gender on

likelihood of making body shape and size statements. Results revealed a significant effect

only for experimental condition. On average, participants in the swimsuit condition wrote

significantly more body shape and size responses on the modified TST than those in the

sweater condition. Thus, it was concluded that the swimsuit condition did in fact induce

state self-objectification while the sweater condition did not.

In this experiment, Fredrickson et al. (1998) also expected that self-obj ectification

would lead to body shame for women but not for men. This prediction was based on the

premise that only women should be vulnerable to self-objectification because women are

the targets of sexual objectification in society. Because only persons with high or low

trait self-objectification were selected for this experiment, an ANCOVA was conducted

instead of regression to analyze the data. The results indicated that, when the relationship

of BMI to body shame was controlled for, women in this sample were significantly more

likely to feel body shame while trying on a swimsuit than were men. The only significant

predictor of body shame for the men was trait self-objectification. Restrained eating was









examined in this experiment with two Twix bars and this time the participants were

clustered into two groups: restraint group (ate approximately half of one bar) or no

restraint group (ate at least one whole bar). None of the participants engaged in symbolic

restraint. Logistic regression analysis revealed that membership in the restraint group was

significantly associated with being a woman, having increased body shame, and higher

levels of trait self-objectification, though not experimentally induced state self-

objectification. The findings of this study provided support for several aspects of

objectification theory, that women are more likely to self-objectify than men, and that

self-objectification leads to body shame and restrained eating.

Another study incorporated objectification theory into a cross-sectional

investigation of body image in women across the lifespan (Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001).

Tiggeman and Lynch examined the link between self-objectification and eating disorder

symptoms. Furthermore, they examined body shame, habitual body monitoring, and

appearance anxiety as potential mediators of this relationship. However, in the original

formulation of objection theory by Fredrickson and Roberts (1997), habitual body

monitoring was considered a behavior associated with taking on an observer's

perspective of one's body and therefore an aspect of self-objectification, rather than a

consequence of it. Hence, Tiggeman and Lynch's examination of habitual body

monitoring may be considered an additional assessesment of self-objectification or of one

aspect of it.

Tiggeman and Lynch's (2001) study was the first to test the objectification theory

model in a non-university sample, with 322 women participants recruited from a large

geographic area in Victoria, Australia. The women ranged in age from 20 to 84 (M=









45.02, SD = 16.62). Unfortunately, no ethnicity data was reported for this sample, yet as

is often true of most studies that do not specifically examine ethnic variables, it is likely

that most of the women in the sample were of White/Caucasian background. In addition

to the SOQ (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998), the habitual body monitoring inherent in self-

objectification was measured using the Body Surveillance subscale of the Objectified

Body Consciousness Scale (OBCS; McKinley & Hyde, 1996). The Body Surveillance

Scale of the OBCS is designed to measure the extent to which one frequently watches

one's appearance and thinks of one's body in terms of how it looks. This was considered

by the authors to be conceptually equivalent to the habitual body monitoring inherent in

self-objectification. They measured body shame with the Body Shame Scale of the

OBCS, which assesses how likely one is to feel badly about not fulfilling cultural

expectations for one's body. Appearance anxiety was assessed with the Appearance

Anxiety Scale (Dion, Dion, & Keelan, 1990), which is a measure of apprehension

regarding one's physical appearance and how others evaluate it. They measured eating

disorder symptomatology using the Drive for Thinness, Bulimia, and Body

Dissatisfaction subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI; Garner, Olmsted, &

Polivy, 1983).

Using regression analyses to conduct a path analysis, Tiggeman and Lynch (2001)

found a strong positive link between self-objectification and body monitoring. Body

monitoring in turn was linked to both increased body shame and increased appearance

anxiety. Consequently, appearance anxiety and body shame both accounted for unique

variance in eating disorder symptoms. Their study further supports objectification









theory's explanation of eating disorders as resulting from self-objectification and body

shame.

Another study that supports the link between self-objectification and eating

disorder symptoms and the mediating role of body shame in this link was conducted by

Tiggeman and Slater (2001). These researchers compared a sample of 50 former dancers,

who had studied ballet for an average of seven years, to 51 non-dancer undergraduate

students. All the participants were women and more than 95% described as "Caucasian."

Based on the premise that the ballet culture places extreme pressure on dancers to be thin,

the authors predicted that former dancers would score significantly higher than non-

dancers on measures of body shame, appearance anxiety, and eating disorder symptoms.

The authors hypothesized that self-objectification would explain the differences in scores.

The measures used by Tiggeman and Slater (2001) included the SOQ (Noll &

Fredrickson, 1998), the Body Surveillance and Body Shame subscales of the OBCS

(McKinley & Hyde, 1996), and the short form of the Appearance Anxiety Scale (Dion et

al., 1990). Eating disorder symptomatology was assessed with the 26-item version of the

Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26; Garner, Olmsted, Bohr, & Garfinkel, 1982), which is

derived from the original 40-item EAT (Garner & Garfinkel, 1979) and is similarly

considered a highly stable and valid measure of eating disorder symptoms and body

dissatisfaction (Kashubeck-West, Mintz, & Saunders 2001).

A MANOVA revealed no significant differences between former dancers and non-

dancers on body shame or appearance anxiety. However, the group of former dancers

was found to score significantly higher than the non-dancers on disordered eating, self-

objectification, and body surveillance. A path analysis using regression techniques









revealed that, for both groups, increased self-objectification was linked to increased self-

surveillance, which then was linked to increased eating disorder behaviors through

increased body shame. For the former dancers, increased self-surveillance was also

directly related to increased eating disorder behaviors.

The research conducted by Tiggeman and Slater (2001) and by Tiggeman and

Lynch (2001) raised a question about whether body surveillance/monitoring is equivalent

to or distinct from self-objectification. Objectification theory clearly posits that body

surveillance is integral to self-objectification. Consistent with this perspective, Miner-

Rubino et al. (2002) noted the conceptual similarities between the SOQ and the Body

Surveillance Scale of the OBCS, observing that the Body Surveillance Scale also taps the

tendency to adopt an observer's perspective on one's body. Indeed, in a sample of 98

mostly White/European American (73%) women, they found that these two measures

were highly correlated (r = .63, p < .001), suggesting that they both tap the same

construct. Thus, the authors combined scores on the SOQ and Body Surveillance Scale to

form a single self-objectification composite, which yielded a Cronbach's alpha of .85. As

expected, this self-objectification composite was found to correlate significantly with

increased body shame, depression, and Neuroticism. Self-objectification did not correlate

with body dissatisfaction, demonstrating that these are different constructs. Using

regression techniques, they also found self-objectification to significantly predict

negative affect, including body shame and depression, beyond that predicted by body

dissatisfaction and other personality variables. This study was meaningful not only in

finding that self-objectification has a direct link to negative emotional consequences, but









also in providing evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the concept of self-

objectification and two extant operationalizations.

The research reviewed thus far provides consistent support for the notion that self-

objectification is related directly and indirectly, through body shame, to eating disorder

symptomatology. A study conducted by Morry and Staska (2001) suggests that

internalization of cultural beauty standards is an important precursor to these links. More

specifically, they examined the role of internalization of cultural beauty standards in the

link from media exposure, a sexually objectifying social context, to self-objectification

and eating behaviors among a sample of 61 men and 89 women, all young adult

university students. Although no ethnicity data was reported for the sample, as stated

above, it is reasonable to assume that most participants were of White/European

American background given that the study did not specifically assess ethnicity. Only the

results reported for women participants will be discussed here as they are the most

relevant to the present study. The instruments administered included the EAT (Garner &

Garfinkel, 1979), the SOQ (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998), and the Body Shape

Questionnaire (BSQ; Cooper, Taylor, Cooper, & Fairburn, 1987).

Additionally, Morry and Staska (2001) developed a Magazine Exposure Scale

(MES) for their study in order to assess exposure to ideal body images presented in the

media. The MES asks respondents to indicate how many out of a total of 5 fitness

magazines, 7 beauty magazines, and 10 "filler" magazines they have looked at in the past

month. Total scores are obtained by summing the total of fitness and beauty magazines

endorsed. The authors examined the relationship of magazine exposure to internalization

of cultural beauty standards using the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance









Questionnaire (SATAQ; Heinberg, Thompson, & Stormer, 1995), a 14-item measure of

women's awareness and internalization of Western sociocultural standards of thinness as

ideal beauty.

Morry and Staska's (2001) regression analyses revealed that exposure to beauty

magazines was significantly related to self-objectification and eating problems, although

both of these relationships were fully mediated by internalization of cultural beauty

standards of thinness as ideal. Thus, for the women in this study, reading beauty

magazines (a sexually objectifying social context) was related to internalization of

cultural beauty standards for women, and through that internalization, to self-

objectification and greater eating disturbance.

Moradi et al. (2005) also examined the role of internalization of cultural beauty

standards in mediating the relationship of reported sexual objectification to self-

objectification as well as to body shame and eating disorder symptoms. They surveyed a

sample of 221 mostly White/European American (64%) undergraduate university

women. Similar to other authors (Miner-Rubino et al., 2002; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001),

they reasoned that the Body Surveillance Scale of the OBCS (McKinley & Hyde, 1996)

is an accurate measure of self-objectification. They measured reported sexual

objectification experiences using the Sexual Objectification subscale of the Daily Sexist

Events scale (Swim, Cohen & Hyers, 1998). The other instruments used were the Body

Shame Scale of the OBCS (McKinley & Hyde) to measure body shame and the EAT-26

(Garner et al., 1982) to measure eating disorder symptoms, in addition to body mass

index.









Moradi et al. (2005) conducted path analyses to examine a model of the direct and

indirect links among reported sexual objectification experiences, internalization of

cultural beauty standards, self-objectification as body surveillance, body shame, and

eating disorder symptoms. Significant positive correlations were found among all the

variables and the overall path model accounted for a substantial proportion (50%) of the

variance in eating disorder symptomatology. Several indirect links were also found.

Internalization of cultural beauty standards partially mediated the link from reported

sexual objectification experiences to body surveillance (e.g., self-objectification) and

fully mediated the link from reported sexual objectification experiences to body shame

and eating disorder symptoms. Body shame was also found to partially mediate the

relation from body surveillance to eating disorder symptoms. Thus, not only were all the

basic tenets of objectification theory supported, but internalization of cultural beauty

standards was also found to play a significant role in the links among reported sexual

objectification, self-objection, body shame, and eating disorder symptomatology.

In summary, extant research has provided accumulating support for objectification

theory, particularly in terms of how it explains the presence of eating disorders. The

evidence generally provides strong support for the notion that self-objectification is

associated with eating disorder symptoms, and this link is mediated partially by body

shame (Fredrickson et al., 1998; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Miner-Rubino et al., 2002;

Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). Furthermore, the recent research

by Morry and Staska (2001) and by Moradi et al. (2005) indicates that internalization of

cultural beauty standards is an important predictor of self-objectification.









Applying Objectification Theory to Latinas

One aspect of objectification theory that has yet to be examined is its applicability

to women across different ethnic or racial groups. The studies reviewed above all were

based on samples of primarily White/European American women. Fredrickson and

Roberts (1997) proposed that self-objectification is experienced by all women, regardless

of ethnic/racial background, due to their shared experiences of being objectified in

society. However, they acknowledged that the literature they used to formulate the theory

included studies conducted mainly on White/European American women and did not

adequately address ethnic diversity. The assumption that all women experience

objectification in the same ways, and that all women encounter the same cultural

pressures to be thin, ignores the variety of sociocultural contexts in which women from

different ethnic or racial groups find themselves.

As a step toward addressing this gap, the present study will examine the

applicability of objectification theory to understanding eating disorders among Latina

women. There has been a paucity of research specifically examining eating disturbances

among Latinas (Crago et al., 1996), although some research has begun to illuminate

several other factors that may play a role in addition to self-objectification, including

acculturation (Chamorro & Flores-Ortiz, 2000; Franko & Herrera, 1997; Pumariega,

1986), internalization of cultural beauty standards (Lester & Petrie, 1995), and the impact

of acculturative stress (Perez et al., 2002).

According to some findings, Latinas may be more likely to exhibit certain body

image and eating problems than other women of color. For example, Fitzgibbon et al.

(1998) examined of the prevalence of binge eating disorder symptoms among 55

White/European American, 179 African American, and 117 Latina women. Body image









was assessed using the Figure Rating Scale (Stunkard, Sorensen, & Schulsinger, 1983).

Depression was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck, Ward,

Mendelsohn, Mock, & Erbaugh, 1961). The Binge Scale (Hawkins & Clement, 1980),

and the Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Patterns Revised (QEWP-R; Spitzer et al.,

1993) were administered as measures of binge eating behavior. BMI was calculated using

Garrow & Webster's (1985) weight and height formula.

An ANCOVA revealed significant ethnic group differences in binge eating severity

after controlling for BMI, age, depression, and ideal body image. Latinas were

significantly more likely to report binge eating symptoms than either White/European

Americans or African Americans. Hierarchical regression analyses also indicated that

being Latina significantly predicted unique variance in binge eating severity after

accounting for BMI, depression, and ideal body image. The results of this study suggest

that eating disorder symptoms, in the form of binge eating, may be a serious problem

among Latinas in comparison to other ethnic groups (Fitzgibbon et al., 1998).

In another ethnic group comparison study, Altabe (1998) compared body image

concerns among African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino/as, and White/European

Americans. The sample consisted of 150 men and 185 women, all undergraduate

university students. The percentages of participants in each ethnic group were not

reported. Participants completed questionnaires consisting of the following measures: the

Body Dissatisfaction subscale of the EDI (Garner et al., 1983), the Figure Rating Scale

(Stunkard et al., 1983), and other body image measures. Altabe conducted an ANOVA to

determine whether body image scores differed significantly by ethnicity or gender. In

addition to the expected gender differences, results indicated that White/European









Americans exhibited the highest levels of body dissatisfaction and had significantly

greater body dissatisfaction than Asian Americans. Among racial/ethnic minority

persons, Latino/as and were found to have significantly greater levels of body

dissatisfaction than both Asian Americans and African Americans. Although these results

suggest that Latinos/as may have greater difficulties with body dissatisfaction, this study

did not attend to the impact of acculturation on ethnic group differences in eating

disorders.

Acculturation and Internalization of Cultural Beauty Standards Among Latinas

Indeed, the limited emerging literature in the area of eating disorders among

Latinas suggests that body satisfaction may be associated with acculturation and/or

internalization of U.S. cultural beauty standards for women. In one of the first such

studies, Pumariega (1986) assessed the effects of acculturation on the relationship

between ethnicity and attitudes about eating for Latina and White/European American

adolescents. Latina participants were 138 adolescent girls. All Latinas were either born

outside of the U.S. or were the first generation in their family born in the U.S. Their

responses were compared to a sample of 365 White/European American adolescent girls.

Eating disorder symptoms were assessed using the EAT (Garner & Garfinkel,

1979). Acculturation to American culture was assessed using the Acculturation

Questionnaire, a rationally derived instrument developed by Pumariega (1986) that

included questions about food, music, clothing and language preferences, in addition to

number of years living in the U.S., cultural background of close relations, and

ethnic/cultural self-identification. According to descriptive statistics, both groups had

similar mean EAT scores, yet correlational results revealed that acculturation was

significantly positively related to increased eating disorder symptoms for Latina









participants. Thus, higher levels of acculturation (defined by increased preference for the

English language, as well as conventional U.S. food and music) were related to higher

levels of eating disorder symptoms among Latina participants. The results of this study

provided preliminary evidence of a relationship between acculturation and eating

disorders.

In a more recent study, Franko and Herrera (1997) examined body image

satisfaction in a sample of 28 Guatemalan American women and 29 White/European

American women. All participants were undergraduate university students and the

Guatemalan American women were all second-generation, defined as born in the U.S.

with parents who had immigrated from Guatemala. Body image satisfaction was assessed

using the Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction subscales of the EDI (Garner et

al., 1983), the Fear of Fat Scale (Goldfarb, Dykens, & Gerrard, 1985), which is a measure

of attitudes toward obesity and fears of becoming overweight, and the Multidimensional

Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ; Brown, Cash, & Mikulka, 1990), which

measures attitudes about one's body. The Acculturation Questionnaire (Pumariega, 1986)

was used to assess level of acculturation, defined as reflecting "greater endorsement of

the attitudes and values of the majority American culture" (p. 122). It was chosen by the

authors because it was developed specifically "for a study of disturbed eating patterns in

Hispanic adolescents" (p. 122).

Franko and Herrera (1997) conducted a one-way MANOVA using all body image

measures in addition to several ANOVAs using each body image measure separately.

The results revealed that, compared to White/European American women, Guatemalan

American women in their sample were significantly less likely to report body









dissatisfaction, were not as driven toward thinness, and exhibited less fear of becoming

fat. Additionally, Guatemalan American women were significantly less likely to be

acculturated than White/European American women. Level of acculturation was also

significantly correlated with body image attitudes. Guatemalan American women who

were more acculturated showed significantly greater body disparagement and fat phobia

than those who were less acculturated. Thus, the results of this study indicate that

increased acculturation may be related to increased body dissatisfaction for Latinas.

Another recent study examined eating disorder symptoms, acculturation, and

treatment-seeking behaviors in an ethnically diverse community sample (Cachelin et al.,

2000). After initial interviews, the sample was divided into two groups, one group of

women who were currently experiencing an eating disorder and one control group of

women with no history of eating disorders. Participants were matched based on ethnicity

and educational level and each group included 49 Latinas, 25 White/European

Americans, 23 African Americans, and 21 Asian Americans. Participants completed a

structured phone interview using a screening tool originally designed for the New

England Women's Health Care Project (Striegel-Moore, Wilfley, Pike, Dohm, &

Fairbum, 1999) that assessed weight-related behaviors, psychiatric symptoms, and

healthcare usage. Questions were added to assess for acculturation based on those

variables that the authors described as most widely considered to be basic components of

acculturation. Thus, increased acculturation was defined as increased endorsement of the

following items: preference for the English language as primary; being born in the U.S.;

having parents who were born in the U.S. African American women were not included in









analyses conducted on acculturation because mostly all were born in the U.S. and had

parents who were born in the U.S.

According to a Chi-square analysis conducted by Cachelin et al. (2000), the women

in each of the different ethnic groups were equally likely to report symptoms of several

types of eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia, and eating

disorder not otherwise specified. Initial ANOVA results revealed significant ethnic group

differences on BMI, thus BMI was entered as a covariate in subsequent analyses. An

ANCOVA indicated that the eating disorder group was significantly more likely to report

eating disorder symptoms than the control group and that there were no significant

ethnicity effects for the eating disorder group. Women in the eating disorder group were

found to be significantly more likely to be acculturated than women in the control group.

Additionally, among the women in the eating disorder group, those who were less

acculturated were significantly less likely to have received treatment in the past year. The

results of this study indicate that, although ethnicity itself may not be related to the

likelihood of experiencing eating disorders, level of acculturation to American society

may play a role both in the presentation of eating disorders and a woman's likelihood to

receive treatment.

Providing further support for the relationship of acculturation to eating disorders,

Chamorro and Flores-Ortiz (2000) examined the relationship between acculturation and

eating attitudes among five generations of Mexican American women, ranging from first

generation women who were born in Mexico to fifth generation women whose

grandparents were born in the U.S. Participants included 139 women, with an average

age of 29.1. Participants were recruited from various community organizations and









undergraduate courses throughout a large metropolitan area in California. Most of the

women were first generation (36%) or second generation (37.4%) and almost half

(46.8%) were college students. Participants completed the EAT-26 (Garner et al., 1982)

and the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans (ARSMA; Cuellar, Harris, &

Jasso, 1980). Correlational results indicated a significant positive relationship between

acculturation and eating disturbance. The group for which this relationship was the

strongest was the second-generation women.

Thus, extant research suggests that a relationship exists between acculturation and

eating disorders for Latinas. Due to the multidimensional nature of acculturation,

however, this relationship may be more complex than the aforementioned studies

suggest. Indeed, Lester and Petrie (1995) examined the more specific variable of

endorsement of U.S. sociocultural values about attractiveness, in addition to general

acculturation. This construct of sociocultural values about attractiveness is parallel to the

internalization of cultural beauty standards that was found by Morry and Staska (2001)

and Moradi et al. (2005) to contribute to self-objectification. Lester and Petrie also

assessed BMI and body satisfaction in their sample of 142 Mexican American

undergraduate university women.

Acculturation was defined in Lester and Petrie's (1995) study as "a dynamic

adaptation of the values, developmental sequences, roles, and personality factors of the

dominant group" (p. 199), in this case, U.S. culture. It was measured using the ARSMA

(Cuellar et al., 1980). This is the most commonly used and well-validated measure of

acculturation among Mexican Americans and has also been validated for use with other

Latino groups (Zane & Mak, 2003). The Beliefs About Attractiveness Questionnaire









(BAQ; Mintz & Betz, 1988) was used to assess level of endorsement of U.S.

sociocultural values about attractiveness. Bulimia was measured with the BULIT-R

(Thelen et al., 1991) and body satisfaction was measured with the Body Parts Satisfaction

Scale (BPSS; Borhrnstedt, 1977), which is a self-report measure of satisfaction with 24

body parts.

Lester and Petrie (1995) conducted a hierarchical regression analysis and found

that, among the women in their sample, BMI and sociocultural beliefs about

attractiveness each accounted for significant equal portions of the variance in bulimic

symptoms. However, neither acculturation level nor level of body satisfaction predicted

unique variance in bulimia symptoms. One possible explanation for the lack of

significant results for body satisfaction, which may fit well with objectification theory, is

that perhaps self-objectification and not necessarily body dissatisfaction may be the

important predictor of eating disorders for Latinas. Although self-objectification was not

assessed in this study, such an explanation is supported by research on self-objectification

that has found it to predict negative affect and body shame beyond what was predicted by

body dissatisfaction (Miner-Rubino et al., 2002) as well as by research indicating that

self-objectification has a direct link to eating disorder symptoms (Noll & Fredrickson,

1998; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). This explanation is also

supported by research suggesting that body dissatisfaction and fear of fat may not be as

common among women with eating disorders who come from cultures that have not

traditionally valued thinness (Gordon, 2001). Lester and Petrie also proposed that their

lack of finding a significant link between general acculturation and eating disorder









symptoms may be due to the fact that they focused on bulimia whereas other studies have

examined eating disorders in general, including anorexia.

As with body satisfaction, Lester and Petrie (1995) did not find a link between

general acculturation and bulimia symptoms. This was the only study among those

reviewed here, however, to differentiate between general acculturation and more specific

internalization of U.S. cultural beauty standards. Indeed, Lester and Petrie found the latter

was related significantly and positively to bulimia symptoms. These findings suggest that

internalization of cultural beauty standards may be an important predictor of eating

disorders among Latinas. More specifically, the link between acculturation and eating

disorder symptomatology may be mediated, fully or partially, by internalization of U.S.

cultural beauty standards.

In addition to the potential roles of general acculturation and internalization of

cultural beauty standards, acculturative stress may be an important correlate of eating

disorder symptoms among Latinas. Acculturative stress has been described as "a stress

reaction to challenging life events that are rooted in the experience of acculturation"

(Berry, 2003, p.31). Acculturation, by contrast, is defined as a process in which the

acculturating culture or individual has continuous and first-hand interaction with a host

culture. This interaction results in cultural and/or psychological change among the people

in contact from each of the groups, although greater change is most commonly found for

the acculturating group or individual. Acculturation is a multidimensional, continuous,

and fluid process that involves developing certain strategies for adaptation that vary

across individuals and across different types of societies. A psychologically healthy

process of acculturation (producing less acculturative stress) includes integrating aspects









of the new culture into one's cultural and individual identity while maintaining positive

identification with the culture of origin (Berry; Berry, Trimble, & Olmedo, 1986).

Berry (1980; 2003) conceptualized acculturative stress as similar to a general a

stress-coping appraisal process in that the stress reaction occurs when perceived adaptive

resources are judged as inadequate to deal with perceived societal demands. However,

what is unique about acculturative stress versus general stress is that it is experienced in

relation to the acculturation process specifically. Berry posited that healthy acculturation

includes balancing aspects of both cultures into one's cultural self-identity. When

excessive difficulties are encountered in this balancing process, acculturative stress may

occur. This conceptualization of acculturative stress is similar to the struggle described

by Harris and Kuba (1997) and other authors (see Gilbert, 2000), who have suggested

that eating disorders in women of color may be a coping strategy for dealing with

conflicting messages about beauty from their culture of origin and the host culture to

which they are acculturating. Acculturative stress has been associated with greater

vulnerability to psychological distress (Balls Organista et al., 2003), however, for this

review only one study was found that measured the impact of acculturative stress on the

development of eating disorders among women of color.

Perez et al. (2002) examined acculturative stress and body dissatisfaction in

predicting bulimia symptoms among a diverse sample of 118 undergraduate university

women. The sample consisted of 51% White/European Americans, 30% African

Americans, and 19% Latinas. Among the total number of Latinas in the sample, over

90% were born in the U.S. and 70% of those had parents who had moved to the U.S.

from a Latin American country. Participants completed the 24-item short version of the









Social, Attitudinal, Familial, and Environmental Acculturative Stress Scale (SAFE;

Mena, Padilla, & Maldonado, 1987), which was derived from the original 60-item

version developed by Padilla et al. (1985) and assesses experiences of acculturative stress

within several different contexts as well as perceived discrimination toward immigrant

populations. The authors also administered the EDI (Garner et al., 1983) to measure

eating disorder behaviors and the Figure Rating Scale (Stunkard et al., 1983) to measure

body satisfaction.

Initial correlational analyses revealed significant relationships between increased

body dissatisfaction and increased bulimic symptoms reported on the EDI Bulimia Scale.

A significant correlation was also found between acculturative stress and bulimic

symptoms. A MANOVA and subsequent univariate and post-hoc analyses indicated that

Latina and White/European American participants were significantly more likely to

report body dissatisfaction and bulimia symptoms than African American participants.

On the other hand, Latina participants were the group most likely to report acculturative

stress, followed by African Americans and then White/European Americans.

Perez et al. (2002) then conducted multiple regression analyses using only the

results for the women of color in the sample (N= 58). The results indicated that body

dissatisfaction and acculturative stress each were related positively and uniquely to

bulimia scores. Further, the interaction of body dissatisfaction and acculturative stress

also accounted for unique variance in bulimia scores. They divided participants into high

and low acculturative stress groups and found that among those scoring high on

acculturative stress, higher body dissatisfaction was related to more bulimia symptoms.

Among those scoring low on acculturative stress, the relationship between body









dissatisfaction and bulimia symptoms was weak and did not reach significance. The

results of this study indicated that acculturative stress may have important mental health

consequences for women of color in the form of increased body dissatisfaction and

increased vulnerability to bulimia. Although this study suggested that acculturative stress

may be related to body dissatisfaction and bulimia among Latinas, this was the only study

found for this review that specifically examined this relationship. Thus, further

exploratory research is needed on the relationship of acculturative stress to eating

disorder symptoms and their precursors.

In summary, the literature presented in this chapter suggests that there are several

factors that can add substantively to the framework of objectification theory in explaining

eating disorders among Latinas. Overall, the research suggests that acculturation and

internalization of cultural beauty standards may be associated with eating disorders

among Latinas. Furthermore, internalization of cultural beauty standards may mediate the

link of acculturation to eating disorders (Lester & Petrie, 1995) and self-objectification

(Moradi et al., 2005; Morry & Staska, 2001). Therefore, a theoretical model for

understanding eating disorders among Latinas should incorporate these constructs along

with the roles played by self-objectification and body shame that have been described in

the research on objectification theory. Interestingly, though Moradi et al. (2005) did not

specifically investigate racial/ethnic differences, they did report that an initial

MANCOVA and follow-up ANOVAs revealed that non-White participants in their

sample (N = 78) scored significantly lower on internalization of cultural beauty standards,

body surveillance, and eating disorder symptoms than White participants (N= 142). In

their discussion of potential future research, they recommended that objectification









theory and eating disorder related variables be specifically examined among ethnic

minority samples.

Purpose of the Present Study

Grounded on the literature reviewed in this chapter, the present study aims to

examine, in a sample of Latina participants, the applicability of the aspects of

objectification theory that are most relevant to understanding eating disorders.

Specifically, as proposed by objectification theory and extant literature on this theory, the

current study will examine a model that includes links among self-objectification, body

shame, and eating disorders. In light of research on Latinas, the current study will also

examine the role of acculturation and internalization of cultural beauty standards within

this model. Exploratory analysis of links between acculturative stress and eating disorder-

related variables included in the model will also be conducted. The model tested in the

current study is presented in Figure 2-1 and examines the following hypotheses:

1. Acculturation is expected to relate positively and directly to internalization of
cultural beauty standards and indirectly to self-objectification, body shame, and
eating disorders.

2. Internalization of cultural beauty standards will be related directly and positively to
self-objectification and to body shame. In addition, there will be a positive and
direct link between internalization of cultural beauty standards and eating disorder
symptomatology. This link will also be mediated partially by self-obj ectification
and body shame.

3. Self-objectification will be related positively and directly to eating disorders
symptoms and this link will be mediated partially by body shame.

4. Finally, the link between acculturative stress and all other variables in the model
will be explored. Given the paucity of research on this relationship, however, no
specific hypotheses are made regarding the relationship of acculturative stress to
the variables in the model.






39




;ultura- Internali- Self- Body Eat. D,
1 zation Object. Shame Sympt




Figure 2-1. Hypothesized model of objectification theory and acculturation links to eating
disorder symptom in Latinas.














CHAPTER 3
METHOD

Participants

A total of 120 participants responded to the survey. Of these, 8 participants were

excluded due to substantial missing data. Independent samples t-tests revealed no

significant differences between the excluded participants and all other participants on

several demographic variables, including age, ethnic/racial self-identification,

socioeconomic status, sexual orientation identification, birthplace, parents' birthplace,

and generation level. The final sample used in the analyses consisted of 112 participants,

all of whom self-described as women and as Latina.

In order to identify potential ethnic/racial differences among the Latinas in the

sample, participants who self-described as Latina were asked to differentiate between

"Latina/Hispanic White" and "Latina/Hispanic Black" and also to differentiate between

how they self-describe and how they think others would describe them (see items 5 and 6

in the Appendix). The majority of participants self-described as "Latina/Hispanic White"

(81.3%) and also reported that others would describe them as "Latina/Hispanic White"

(79.5%). Some participants either circled both "Latina/Hispanic White" and

"Latina/Hispanic Black" or entered in "Other" as "Latina brown" or "just Latina" for

both their self-description (8%) and how others would describe them (7.1%). This may

suggest that had there been another category, such as "Latina/Hispanic Multiracial,"

perhaps more respondents would have opted to self-describe in that manner. The









remaining participants self-described as "Latina/Hispanic Black" (1.8%) or as both

"Latina/Hispanic White" and "European-American/White" (8%).

Participants ranged in age from 18 to 78, with a median age of 23 and a mean age

of 26.59 (SD = 9.32). The majority of participants were first-generation, born in the U.S.

(42%) or were immigrant generation, born outside of the U.S. (42%). Another 8.9% were

second-generation, 2.7% were third-generation, and 4.5% were from families that had

been living in the U.S. for more than three generations. Of those born outside of the U.S.,

24.1% were born in Mexico, Central, or South America, and 20.5% were born in the

Latin Caribbean (Cuba, Dominican Republic, or Puerto Rico). The median age at which

participants not born in the U.S. first moved to the U.S. was 7 and the mean age was

10.97 (SD = 9.46).

Socioeconomic status was measured using average annual household income.

Based on this, 52.7% of participants were middle class, 26.8% were working class,

10.7% were upper middle class, 4.5% were lower middle class, and 5.4% were upper

class. The majority of participants self-described as heterosexual (94.6%), while 2.7%

reported being gay or lesbian, 1.8% reported being bisexual, and .9% reported being

transgender or other.

In order to ensure that language barriers did not interfere with study results, two

questions were asked regarding level of English reading comprehension and ability to

understand the questions in the survey (see items 13 and 14 in the Appendix). All

participants reported that they understood English either well or very well and all

reported that they were able to understand the questions in the survey and provide

accurate responses.









Procedure

Survey packets were distributed through personal contacts and by mail. In addition

to the battery of instruments and demographic items described above, the packets

contained a stamped, self-addressed, return envelope and a consent form that explained

the purpose of the study, described rights of participants, and also included the

researchers' contact information for participants who had questions or comments about

the study. The majority of participants who responded to the survey were recruited from a

mailing list of Latino/Hispanic students obtained from the diversity office at a large

southeastern university. All students on the mailing list that were women were mailed a

survey. Those participants that received the survey by mail were sent a reminder letter

along with another copy of the survey after four weeks if they had not returned the

survey. As participation in the study was confidential, mail-out surveys were marked with

an identification number to determine who should receive reminder letters.

A total of 295 surveys were mailed out; however, 21 of those were returned due to

incorrect or insufficient addresses. Therefore, a total of 274 surveys were mailed and

actually received by potential participants. After the first mail-out, 62 surveys were

returned, yielding a 23% initial return rate. After reminder letters were sent, another 20

participants responded. Therefore, a total of 82 participants responded to the survey from

this mail-out, yielding a 30% total return rate. Four of these participants were among

those excluded from analyses due to substantial missing data. Thus, a total of 78

participants included in the final sample were female Latina university students.

As this is a circumscribed and difficult to reach population, participants were also

recruited from personal contacts and snow ball sampling methods in three major urban

areas in the southeastern, northeastern, and midwestern U.S. Reminder letters could not









be sent to participants recruited in this manner as surveys were distributed personally and

no mailing addresses were obtained. A total of 65 surveys were distributed through

personal contacts and snow ball sampling. Thirty eight participants responded, yielding a

return rate of 58% for this method. Of these, 4 were among those excluded from analyses

due to substantial missing data. Therefore, 34 of the participants in the study were from

these three primarily community-based subsamples.

ANOVA results revealed no significant differences among the 4 sampling locations

for most of the variables of interest, including self-objectification, body shame,

internalization of cultural beauty standards, eating disorder symptomatology, and

acculturative stress. Significant differences were found among the four sampling

locations for acculturation, F (3, 108) = 5.54, p = .001. However, significant differences

in age were also found among sample locations, F (3, 108) = 7.57, p < .001. Given that

age was also found to correlate significantly and negatively with acculturation, r -.31, p =

.001, it was controlled for in an ANCOVA with sampling location as the independent

variable and acculturation level as the dependent variable. After adjusting for age as a

covariate, no significant differences were found in acculturation among the different

sampling locations. It was therefore determined that differences in sampling procedure

did not significantly affect analyses.

Measures

With the exception of those instruments designed to measure cultural/ethnic

variables, psychometric data have not been reported on most of the study's instruments

with samples of women of color in the U.S. The present study will therefore provide

needed validity and reliability information for the use of these measures among Latinas.









Self-Objectification

Trait self-objectification was measured using both the Self-Objectification

Questionnaire (SOQ; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998) and the Body Surveillance subscale of

the Objectified Body Consciousness Scales (OBCS; McKinley & Hyde, 1996). The Body

Surveillance Scale of the OBCS was developed based on feminist theoretical concepts,

similar to objectification theory, about the social construction of the female body. The

Body Surveillance Scale contains 8 items scored on a Likert-type scale ranging from 1

(strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) and is designed to measure the extent to which

one frequently watches one's appearance and thinks of one's body in terms of how it

looks. Item ratings are summed and a score of 0 is assigned to each "NA" response. The

sums are then divided by the total number of responses, not including "NA" or missing

responses. Scale scores can range from 1 to 7. Higher scores reflect greater body

surveillance. Two reverse coded items are "I think it is more important that my clothes

are comfortable than whether they look good on me" and "I think more about how my

body feels than how my body looks." The full instrument can be found in McKinely and

Hyde.

According to the interpretation guidelines provided by McKinley along with the

instrument, a person scoring high on the Body Surveillance Scale tends to self-inspect

frequently and thinks of her body in terms of its appearance. Scores on this subscale have

been used as a measure of self-objectification (Miner-Rubino et al., 2002) and habitual

body monitoring (Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). Fredrickson and

Roberts (1997) described the latter as an inherent aspect of self-objectification as it is a

form of taking on an outsider's perspective of one's body. Furthermore, due to the high

correlation between the SOQ and Body Surveillance Scales, Miner-Rubino et al.









formulated a composite score of self-objectification from these two scales. Therefore, the

use of the Body Surveillance Scale as a measure of self-objectification is supported by

previous research.

In the initial development sample of 502 young adult women and 151 middle-aged

women, most of whom were White/European American, scores on the Body Surveillance

Scale showed good construct validity based on a significant negative correlation with

body esteem (McKinley & Hyde, 1996). McKinley (1998) examined the usefulness of the

OBCS for explaining gender differences in body esteem among a sample of 164 female

and 163 male mostly White/European American participants. For their sample, the Body

Surveillance Scale was found to have a significant negative correlation with body esteem

and a significant positive correlation with actual/ideal weight discrepancy. These

relations were stronger for women than for men. Across prior samples, alpha internal

consistency estimates for Body Surveillance were .89 (McKinley & Hyde), .79

(McKinley), .83 (Tiggeman & Slater, 2001), and .80 (Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001). In the

present sample, an alpha internal consistency estimate of .83 was found, which is similar

to previous findings and supports the internal consistency of body surveillance scores for

this sample of 112 Latinas.

The Self-Objectification Questionnaire (SOQ; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998) was

developed based on objectification theory and is designed to assess concern with

appearance without an evaluative component because self-objectification is purportedly

distinct from body satisfaction. Respondents are asked to rank-order a list of 5

appearance based body attributes (e.g., physical attractiveness, weight) and 5 competence

based body attributes (e.g., physical fitness, energy level) in terms of how important they









are to their physical self-concept (9 = most important, 0 = least important). Scores range

from -25 to 25 and are calculated by subtracting the sum of the competence ranks from

the sum of the appearance ranks. Higher scores reflect greater emphasis on appearance

and are interpreted as greater self-objectification. In their samples of 93 and 111 mostly

White/European American women, Noll and Fredrickson reported means of 7.7 (SD =

17.6) and 5.7 (SD = 18.4), respectively. They reported good construct validity for the

SOQ based on correlations with the Appearance Anxiety Scale (Dion, Dion, & Keelan,

1990) and with the Body Image Assessment (Williamson et al., 1985). No reliability data

has been reported for this measure in previous studies.

In the present sample, 5 participants (in addition to the 8 that were excluded from

the study) were missing substantial amounts of data on the SOQ because they did not

correctly follow the scoring instructions. These participants either did not rank one

attribute or ranked one attribute twice and thereby missed ranking another attribute.

According to the scoring instructions, such errors in ranking require that the data for that

participant be considered missing. Due to this high number of missing data and potential

participant confusion about SOQ instructions, compared to missing data for only 2

participants on the OBCS Surveillance Scale, it was decided that the SOQ would not be

used in the analyses. The OBCS Surveillance Scale was therefore used as the only

measure of self-objectification in the analyses as it has previously been shown to be a

valid and reliable measure of self-objectification and habitual body monitoring.

Body Shame

Body shame was measured using both the Body Shame Questionnaire (BSQ; Noll

& Fredrickson, 1998) and the Body Shame Scale, a subscale of the OBCS (McKinley &

Hyde, 1996). The Body Shame Scale of the OBCS assesses how likely one is to feel









badly about not fulfilling cultural expectations for one's body and higher scores indicate

greater body shame. It contains 8 items and is scored on a Likert-type scale ranging from

1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Item ratings are summed and a score of 0 is

assigned to each "NA" response. The sums are then divided by the total number of

responses, not including "NA" or missing responses. Scale scores can range from 1 to 7.

Items include "I feel like I must be a bad person when I don't look as good as I could"

and "I feel ashamed of myself when I haven't made the effort to look my best." The full

instrument can be found in McKinely and Hyde.

Similar to the Body Surveillance scores, Body Shame scores demonstrated good

construct validity based on a significant negative correlation with body esteem among a

sample of 502 young adult women and 151 middle-aged women (McKinley & Hyde,

1996). The Body Shame scores also were significantly positively correlated with eating

disorder symptoms for that sample. Furthermore, as expected, Body Shame scores

yielded a significant positive correlation with actual/ideal weight discrepancy and a

significant negative correlation with body esteem among a sample of 164 mostly

White/European American women (McKinley, 1998). In her sample, McKinley also

reported an alpha internal consistency estimate of .73 for the Body Shame scores. Across

other samples, Body Shame scores yielded alpha internal consistency estimates of .75

(McKinley & Hyde, 1998), .80 (Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001) and .85 (Tiggeman & Slater,

2001). The alpha internal consistency estimate for the present sample was .81.

The Body Shame Questionnaire (BSQ; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998) was designed as

a measure of how likely one is to feel ashamed about one's body. Respondents are asked

to indicate whether they would like to change a given body part, how strong their desire









for change is (intensity), and how often they think about changing that body part

(frequency). Composite scores are obtained by rating the frequency and intensity with

which one would like to change a list of 28 body attributes (e.g., weight, profile, and

height). Intensity ratings range from 1 to 9 (1 = very mild desire for change; 9 = very

intense desire for change), as do frequency ratings (1 = seldom thought of change; 9 =

very often thought of change). Total scores are obtained by summing standardized scores

derived from the total number of body attributes the respondent would like to change, the

total intensity rating scores, and the total frequency rating scores. Higher standardized

scores reflect increased body shame.

Mean standardized scores of .18 (SD = 2.8) and .01 (SD = 2.9) were reported on the

BSQ across two samples of mostly White/European American women (Noll &

Fredrickson, 1998). In terms of validity, the BSQ predicted unique variance in eating

disorder symptoms beyond that accounted for by other measures of general shame and

neuroticism (Noll & Fredrickson, 1998). In their sample of mostly White/European

college aged women, Fredrickson et al. (1998) reported an alpha internal consistency

estimate of .91 for the BSQ composite.

In the present sample, the BSQ was not used in the final analyses due to too many

errors made by participants in intensity and frequency ratings. A total of 23 participants

incorrectly made intensity and frequency ratings on body attributes that they had not

indicated were body attributes they would like to change. Data for these participants

would need to be excluded based on scoring criteria. As substantial amounts of data were

not missing from the Body Shame Scale of the OBCS and this instrument has been used









as a valid and reliable measure of body shame by other researchers, it was the only

measure of body shame used in the final analyses for the present study.

Eating Disorder Symptoms

The 26-item version of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26; Garner, Olmsted, Bohr,

& Garfinkel, 1982) was developed from a factor analysis of the original 40-item EAT

(Garner & Garfinkel, 1979), which has been widely used as a reliable and valid measure

of eating disorder symptoms and body image disturbance. Items include "Feel extremely

guilty after eating" and "Vomit after I have eaten". The full EAT-26 can be found in

Garner et al. and online at http://river-center.org/information.html. In the original scoring

method, which is used for differentiating between clinical and nonclinical ranges, weights

of 1-3 are assigned to the three most severe item responses, ranging from "often" to

"always," with all other responses weighted 0. Overall scores range from 0 to 78 and are

obtained by weighting responses considered symptomatic, with scores above 20

considered to indicate the presence of an eating disorder. It has been argued that for

nonclinical research samples (as in the present study), it is best to use a continuous score

of the full 6-point scale ("never" to "always") in order to obtain a less skewed

distribution (Seiver, 1994). Additionally, in their review of assessment methods for eating

disorders, Kashubeck-West et al. (2001) recommended that continuous scoring be used

for research purposes. The present study followed this continuous scoring method, in

which items are scored on a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (never) to 6 (always). Scale

scores are derived by summing item ratings and can range from 26 to 156.

EAT-26 scores are highly correlated with EAT-40 scores (r = .98) and a recent

review of eating disorder assessment tools identified the EAT-26 as a reliable and valid

measure of undifferentiated DSM-IV eating disorders (Kashubek-West et al., 2001) with









good concurrent and predictive validity in numerous studies. Internal consistency

reliability estimates have been reported for overall EAT-26 scores with coefficient alphas

of .83 (Koslowsky, Scheinberg, Bleich, Mark, Apter, Danon, Solomon, 1992) and .88

(Tiggeman & Slater, 2001) across samples. An alpha internal consistency estimate of .87

was found for the present sample.

Internalization of Cultural Beauty Standards

The Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire (SATAQ;

Heinberg, Thompson, & Stormer, 1995) is a 14-item measure of women's awareness and

internalization of dominant Western cultural standards of thinness as beauty. Items are

scored on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (completely disagree) to 5

(completely agree). The scale consists of two factors, Awareness of societal standards of

beauty for women and Internalization of such standards. The present study used the 8-

item Internalization subscale of the SATAQ to measure internalization of cultural beauty

standards. Item ratings are summed and total scores range from 8 to 40, with higher

scores reflecting greater awareness and internalization of this cultural beauty standard.

Items on the Internalization scale include "women who appear in TV shows and movies

project the type of appearance that I see as my goal" and "photographs of thin women

make me wish that I were thin." The full instrument can be found in Heinberg et al.

For a sample of 162 undergraduate university women, Heinberg et al. (1995)

reported good convergence between the SATAQ scores and scores on several measures

of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, such as the Eating Disorders Inventory

(Garner, 1991) and the Multidimensional Body Self-Relations Questionnaire Physical

Appearance Evaluation scale (Brown et al., 1990). Heinberg et al. reported an alpha

coefficient of .93 for Internalization scores in a sample of 194 undergraduate university









women and .88 for another cross-validation sample of 150 undergraduate university

women. Other authors reported an alpha internal consistency estimate of .85 for the

Internalization subscale (Morry & Staska, 2001). Alpha internal consistency was .87 for

the present sample.

Acculturation

The Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH; Marin, Sabogal, Marin,

Otero-Sabogal, & Perez-Stable, 1987) is a multidimensional measure of acculturation to

U.S. culture for use with people from various Latino cultures. The overall scale consists

of 12 items rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale. Item ratings are summed and overall

totals range from 12 to 60. Totals can then be averaged to yield scores ranging from 1 to

5. Higher scores reflect greater levels of acculturation and, according to Marin et al., a

cutoff score 2.99 can be used to differentiate between persons who are highly

acculturated from those who are less acculturated. The SASH assesses three aspects of

acculturation, including Language Use with five items, Media with three items, and

Ethnic Social Relations with four items. Sample questions include: "What languages) do

you usually speak at home?" (Language Use subscale); "In what languages) are the radio

programs you usually listen to?" (Media subscale); and "You prefer going to social

gatherings/parties at which the people are:" (Ethnic Social Relations subscale). The full

instrument can be found in Marin et al.

The normative sample for Marin et al. (1987) consisted of 363 Latinos/as and 228

non-Latino Whites. The Latinos/as in the sample consisted of 44% Mexican Americans,

6% Cuban Americans, 2% Puerto Ricans, and 47% Latinos from various Central

American countries. SASH scores demonstrated good convergent validity when

correlated with another acculturation index that assessed generation level, length of









residence in the U.S., and self-evaluation of acculturation level. SASH scores also

differentiated between Latinos and non-Latinos and correlated negatively with age of

arrival to the U.S. Marin et al. reported an alpha internal consistency reliability estimate

of .92 for overall SASH scores. An alpha internal consistency of .88 was found for the

present sample.

Acculturative Stress

The short 24-item version of the Social, Attitudinal, Familial, and Environmental

Acculturative Stress Scale (SAFE; Mena et al., 1987) was used to assess acculturative

stress. The short form of the SAFE was derived from the 17 items in the original 60-item

version (Padilla et al., 1985) that were found to differentiate between generations among

Japanese and Mexican American participants, with an additional 7 items that measure

perceived discrimination toward immigrant populations. Thus, in addition to assessing

experiences of acculturative stress within several different contexts, the short form of the

SAFE also assesses perceived discrimination. Respondents are asked to indicate how they

perceive cultural stress by answering questions scored on a 5-point Likert-type scale

ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). If respondents indicate that a

question does not apply to them, that item is scored 0. Item ratings are summed and total

scores can range from 0 to 120. Items include "Close family members and I have

conflicting expectations about my future" and "People look down upon me if I practice

customs of my culture." The full instrument can be found in Mena et al.

The normative group consisted of 96 women and 118 men. Eighty six participants

were first-generation, 37 were second-generation, 75 were third-generation, and 16 were

reported to be "mixed-generation." The ethnic/racial breakdown of first-generation

immigrant participants was as follows: 61 Asians, 9 Hispanics/Latinos, 7 Europeans, 4









Middle Easterners, 3 Canadians, 1 South African, and 1 Indian. In terms of validity, the

SAFE was found to differentiate between generation levels as well as between

immigrants who moved to the U.S. before age 12 and those who moved to the U.S. after

age 12 (Mena et al., 1987). An internal consistency reliability of .89 was reported for the

normative sample of ethnically diverse participants. Internal consistencies also have been

reported at .89 for Latinos (Fuertes & Westbrook, 1996) and .87 for a diverse group of

African Americans, Latinos, and White/European Americans (Perez et al., 2002). Similar

to previous results, an alpha internal consistency of .87 was found for this sample of

Latinas.

Demographics

In addition to the battery of instruments, participants were asked several

demographic questions, including self-reported ethnic/racial identification,

socioeconomic class as reflected by average annual household income, age, sexual

orientation identification, country of birth, generation level, and age of arrival to the U.S.

if born in another country. They were also asked to report weight and height in order to

compute BMI using Quetelet's index of body mass (weight in kilograms divided by

height in meters squared), which has been reported as a reliable and valid measure of

body size (Garrow & Webster, 1985; Heymsfield, Allison, Heshka, & Pierson, 1995).

These demographic questions are presented in the Appendix and were included as the last

portion of the questionnaire.














CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

Preliminary Analyses

Prior to analysis, all demographics and variables of interest were examined for

accuracy of data entry, missing values, and fit between their distributions and the

assumptions of multivariate analysis. The assumption of normality was met by verifying

that there was no significant skewness or kurtosis, as well as inspection of histograms and

normal and detrended probability plots. Linearity and homoscedasticity were verified by

inspection of bivariate scatterplots. Inspection of the correlation matrix revealed no

bivariate correlations above .70 among the variables of interest, indicating that

multicollinearity did not exist.

Links between demographic variables and other variables of interest were

examined using ANOVA for categorical variables and Pearson product moment

correlations for continuous variables in order to identify potential covariates to be entered

in subsequent analyses. This examination revealed significant negative correlations

between increased age and three variables of interest; acculturation, r = -.31, p = .001,

internalization of cultural beauty standards, r = .35 p < .001, and self-objectification as

measured by the OBCS Body Surveillance Scale, r = -.30,p = .001. Additionally,

significant positive correlations were found between actual body size as measured by

Body Mass Index (BMI) and body shame, r = .25, p = .009. Therefore, age and BMI

were included as covariates in all analyses to adjust for their links when testing









hypotheses. The variables of interest were not related significantly to any other

demographic variables (e.g., socioeconomic status, sexual orientation).

Descriptive Statistics

Descriptive statistics for the current sample (see Table 4-1) were generally

comparable to sample means presented in previous studies. More specifically, the present

sample's mean for Body Surveillance was 4.34 (SD = 1.15) which is comparable to the

mean of 4.82 (no standard deviation reported) obtained with a sample of 156 mostly

White/European American women (McKinley, 1998). In the same study, McKinley

reported a mean score of 3.46 (but no standard deviation) for the Body Shame Scale. The

present sample of Latina women had a mean score of 3.01 (SD = 1.27), which was

similar to, though slightly lower than, that reported by McKinley. The mean EAT-26

score for the current sample was 59.82 (SD = 16.19), which is similar to previous results

(M= 69.75, SD = 16.76) for heterosexual women, using the same continuous scoring

method (Seiver, 1994). Among the women in their sample, Morry and Staska (2001)

reported a mean score of 22.89 (SD = 6.32) on the Internalization scale of the SATAQ.

Similarly, a mean score of 23.34 (SD = 7.22) was found in the present sample. Thus,

overall, descriptive data for the present sample on eating disorder-related constructs were

comparable to that found in previous samples.

The present sample's mean acculturation score was comparable to previous

samples of women with at least some college education. Marin et al. (1987) reported

SASH acculturation mean scores of 2.69 (standard deviations were not reported) for

Latina women in their normative community based sample. The mean level of education

for all Latino/Hispanic participants in the normative sample was 12.3 years. The current

sample's mean score of 3.55 (SD = .57) was somewhat higher than that reported by









Marin et al. for their community based sample, but was comparable to mean scores found

in other studies with educational levels comparable to that of the present sample. For

example, Caldera, Robitschek, Frame,and Pannell (2003) reported a mean SASH

acculturation score of 3.49 (SD = .60) in their sample of 98 Mexican American college

women. Similarly, in a young, mostly female sample with either some college or college

degree, Valentine (2001) reported a mean SASH acculturation score of 3.30 (SD= .77).

With regard to acculturative stress scores, Mena et al. (1987) reported a mean score

of 30.2 on the SAFE for their mixed gender and ethnically diverse normative sample of

college students. Perez et al. also found a mean score (M= 30.48, SD = 14.16) among

their ethnically diverse sample of college women. The mean acculturative stress score on

the SAFE for the present sample of Latina women was 47.16 (SD = 9.77), which is

somewhat higher than that found by Mena et al. (1987) and by Perez et al. (2002).

However, Mena et al. and Perez et al. examined acculturative stress in ethnically diverse

samples and the present study's results are consistent with the higher mean SAFE scores

found in other studies conducted specifically on Latino immigrant samples. For example,

Miranda and Matheny (2000) reported a SAFE mean score of 78.3 (SD = 11.6) in their

sample of primarily immigrant generation Latinos from various Latin American countries

and Hovey and Magafia (2002) reported a mean of 56.4 (SD = 19.7) on the SAFE in their

sample of Mexican migrant farm workers. Hovey (2000) also reported a mean SAFE

score of 49.90 (SD = 18.56) among 76 Mexican immigrant women enrolled in ESL

classes at a community college. In their theoretical review of research on acculturation

and acculturative stress, Smart and Smart (1995) suggested that Latinos may have higher

average acculturative stress levels than other immigrant populations due to multilevel









sociopolitical and sociocultural stressors. Therefore, it seems reasonable that the mean

SAFE score for the current Latina women sample would be somewhat higher than that

found in the ethnically diverse normative sample, even though both were primarily

college samples.

Interrelations Among Variables of Interest

To provide an initial examination of preconditions for the mediational hypotheses,

interrelations among the variables of interest were examined using partial correlations,

controlling for age and BMI (see Table 4-1). As described by Baron and Kenny (1986),

in order for a variable to be considered a mediator, the following three criteria must be

met: (a) the predictor and mediator must be related significantly, (b) the mediator and

criterion must be related significantly, and (c) the predictor and criterion must be related

significantly. Preliminary inspection of the data based on these correlations indicated that

preconditions for Hypothesis 1 were not met. Preconditions for Hypothesis 2 and

Hypothesis 3 were met.

Hypothesis 1

The expected positive relation of acculturation with internalization of cultural

beauty standards was not significant and, therefore, an indirect (i.e., mediated) link from

acculturation, through internalization of cultural beauty standards, to self-objectification,

body shame, and eating disorder symptoms could not be tested.

Hypothesis 2

Internalization of cultural beauty standards was expected to relate directly and

positively to self-objectification, to body shame, and to eating disorder symptomatology.

Furthermore, the link from internalization to eating disorder symptomatology was

expected to be mediated partially by both self-objectification and body shame. Consistent









with these expectations, partial correlations indicated significant positive links from

internalization of cultural beauty standards to self-objectification, body shame, and eating

disorder symptoms. Also, the mediational roles of self-objectification and body shame in

the relation of internalization of cultural beauty standards to eating disorder symptoms

received initial support. According to the correlational data presented in Table 4-1, all

three criteria are satisfied for the mediations. In other words, in addition to the significant

positive links from internalization to all three variables, significant positive relations were

found between self-objectification and eating disorder symptoms as well as between body

shame and eating disorder symptoms. Thus, the significance of these mediations could be

tested (described under path analyses).

Hypothesis 3

Hypothesis 3 proposed that self-objectification would be related to eating disorder

symptoms and that this relation would be partially mediated by body shame. Partial

correlations indicated that self-objectification was significantly and positively related to

both body shame and eating disorder symptoms. Body shame and eating disorder

symptoms were also significantly and positively linked. Thus, preconditions for

Hypothesis 3 were met and the significance of the mediation could be tested (described

under path analyses).

Hypothesis 4

Hypothesis 4 called for an exploratory analysis of the relation of acculturative

stress to all other variables of interest. Initial inspection of partial correlations suggested

that acculturative stress was related to both body shame and eating disorder symptoms.

Based on Baron & Kenny's (1986) recommendations regarding mediational relationships,

it may be that acculturative stress was related indirectly to eating disorders through the









mediational role of body shame. This and other direct and indirect links were then

examined through path analysis. Acculturative stress also had a significant negative

correlation with acculturation, which is consistent with the definitions of these two

constructs as well as with prior research (e.g., Berry, 2003; Hovey & Magafia, 2002).

Path Analyses

Test of Originally Hypothesized Model

Path analysis using AMOS 5.0 (Arbuckle, 2003) was used to test the fit of the data

to the proposed model (presented in Figure 2-1) and allow for testing the significance of

mediations for which preconditions were met. As mentioned previously, age and BMI

were controlled as covariates in the model. Maximum likelihood estimation was used

with the covariance matrix of the variables of interest as input. Figure 4-1 presents the

results for Model 1 (the originally proposed model) with all standardized path

coefficients. Several goodness-of-fit indices for Model 1 were indicative of a good-fitting

model, including the Goodness-of-Fit index (GFI) = .99, Comparative Fit Index (CFI) =

1.00, Non-Normed Fit Index (also known as Tucker-Lewis Index [NNFI/TLI]) = 1.06,

and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) = .00. Recommended values

of> .90 for GFI, CFI, and NFI indicate a good-fitting model, while RMSEA is

recommended to be at or below a value of .05 (Kline, 1998). The NNFI/TLI is considered

to be one of the fit indices least affected by sample size and can be valued above 1, unlike

GFI and CFI, which vary between 0 and 1.

The overall model accounted for 44% of the variance in eating disorder symptoms,

31% of the variance in body shame, 22% of the variance in self-objectification, and 13%

of the variance in internalization of cultural beauty standards. As shown in Figure 4-1,

direct paths from internalization of cultural beauty standards to self-objectification, body









shame, and eating disorders all were significant and positive. Direct paths from self-

objectification to body shame and eating disorders, as well as from body shame to eating

disorders, also were significant and positive. These results indicated that the originally

hypothesized model was mostly supported by the data, with some modifications. More

specifically, all expected relations were consistent with the data, with the exception that

relations of acculturation to the other variables of interest, as predicted by Hypothesis 1,

were not supported.

Modified Model Including Acculturative Stress

Although Model 1 was a good fit and explained a total of 44% of the variance in

eating disorder symptomatology, there was no significant unique link from acculturation

to internalization of cultural beauty standards, as expected in the hypothesized model. In

light of this finding and to explore the role of acculturative stress in the model, a new

model was created that incorporated acculturative stress based on an examination of the

partial correlation matrix and the results of Model 1. This alternative model, identified as

Model 2, included all the expected direct and indirect paths from internalization of

cultural beauty standards to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder

symptoms that were proposed in Hypotheses 2 and 3 and that were substantiated in

Model 1. In addition, Model 2 included direct paths from acculturative stress to body

shame and eating disorder symptomatology as well as an indirect link from acculturative

stress to eating disorder symptoms, through body shame. As with Model 1, BMI and age

were controlled as covariates in the path analysis. Figure 4-2 represents Model 2,

including all standardized path coefficients.

Goodness-of-fit indices were indicative of a good-fitting model (GFI = .99, CFI=

1.00, NNFI/TLI = .98, RMSEA = .04). Similar to Model 1, the model accounted for 44%









of the variance in eating disorder symptoms, 35% of the variance in body shame (an

increase from the 31% accounted for by Model 1), and 22% of the variance in self-

objectification. As can be seen in Figure 4-2, all standardized path coefficients were

significant, indicating significant unique direct links. In addition to the direct links found

in Model 1, direct paths from acculturative stress to body shame and to eating disorder

symptoms also were significant and positive. According to these results, the direct links

predicted in Hypotheses 2 and 3 were consistent with the result of the path analyses. That

is, internalization of cultural beauty standards was related directly and positively to self-

objectification, which, in turn, was related directly and positively to body shame, which,

in turn, was related directly and positively to eating disorder symptoms. Additionally,

internalization of cultural beauty standards also was related directly and positively to

body shame and eating disorder symptoms. Self-objectification also was related directly

and positively to eating disorder symptoms. Not specifically hypothesized, but explored

as proposed in Hypothesis 4, acculturative stress was related directly and positively to

body shame as well as eating disorder symptoms.

Testing Significance of Mediations

The significance of mediational relations proposed in the hypotheses were tested

using the path coefficients for Model 2 as this model contained all possible significant

relations among variables. Cohen and Cohen (1983) recommended multiplication of path

coefficients to compute magnitude of indirect links. This procedure was used along with

Sobel's formula (Baron & Kenny, 1986; Sobel, 1982) for calculating the significance of

indirect links, which indicates significance of mediation. As proposed in Hypothesis 2,

internalization of cultural beauty standards, through self-objectification as a mediator,

had a significant indirect link of .12 (.35 x .34; z = 2.89,p = .004) with body shame and a









significant indirect link of .07 (.35 x .21; z = 2.15, p = .031) with eating disorder

symptoms. Consistent with Hypothesis 3, self-objectification, through body shame as a

mediator, had a significant indirect link of .07 (.34 x .22; z = 2.12, p = .034) with eating

disorder symptoms. Acculturative stress, through body shame as a mediator, had a

significant indirect link of .06 (.26 x .22; z = 1.93, p = .05) with eating disorder

symptoms.

Thus, all of the expected mediations predicted by Hypotheses 2 and 3 were

supported by the data. An additional indirect link from acculturative stress to eating

disorder symptoms through body shame as a mediator was also found. The indirect links

predicted in Hypothesis 1 could not be tested and were not supported given that

acculturation was not related significantly to any of the other variables of interest.

Summary of Findings

As predicted by Hypothesis 2, internalization of cultural beauty standards was

related directly and positively to self-objectification, body shame, and eating disorder

symptomatology. Also as predicted by Hypothesis 2, the link between internalization of

cultural beauty standards and eating disorder symptoms was mediated partially by self-

objectification and body shame. As predicted by Hypothesis 3, self-objectification was

related positively and directly to eating disorders symptoms and this link also was

mediated partially by body shame. Hypothesis 4 called for an exploration of the link

between acculturative stress and the other variables of interest. Acculturative stress was

related directly and positively to eating disorder symptoms and this relation was mediated

partially by body shame. Acculturation was not related to any of the other variables of

interest.









Table 4-1. Summary Statistics and Partial Correlations
Age and BMI Controlled (N=112)


Among Variables of Interest with


Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 Possible Sample M SD oc
Range Range
1. Self- 1-7 1.00- 4.33 1.15 .83
objectification 7.00
2. Internalization .35** 8-40 8.00- 23.34 7.22 .87
40.00
3. Body shame .44** .36** 1-7 1.00- 3.01 1.27 .81
6.25
4. Eating disorder .45** .54** .49** 26-156 31.00- 59.82 16.19 .87
symptoms 99.00
5. Acculturation .01 .04 -.06 -.06 1-5 2.25- 3.55 .57 .88
4.83
6. Acculturative .13 .09 .33** .26* -.38** 0-120 28.00- 47.16 9.77 .87
stress 80.00
Note. *p < .005. **p <.001. Higher scores indicate higher levels of the construct assessed.


24 .21


Figure 4-1. Model 1, controlling for BMI and age, with standardized path coefficients
shown. All paths are significant at p < .05.


Figure 4-2. Model 2, controlling for BMI and age, with standardized path coefficients.
All paths are significant atp < .05.














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

The literature has provided extensive support for an integration of sociocultural

factors in understanding the etiology of eating disorders among women (Gordon, 2001;

Groesz et al., 2002; Rodin et al., 1984; Pate et al., 1992; Stice, 1994; Striegel-Moore &

Cachelin, 2001; Vandereycken & Hoek, 1992). Objectification theory (Fredrickson &

Roberts, 1997) combines the empirical and theoretical support for such an understanding

into a testable model of the sociocultural factors that may shape eating disorder

symptomatology in women. Support has accumulated for several of the propositions of

objectification theory; specifically, that sexually objectifying cultural contexts for women

may lead to self-objectification (Fredrickson et al., 1998; Moradi et al., 2005; Morry &

Staska, 2001) and that self-objectification predicts eating disorder symptomatology both

directly and indirectly, through the mediating role of body shame (Fredrickson et al.;

Moradi et al.; Morry & Staska; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001;

Tiggeman & Slater, 2001). The most recent studies on objectification theory have also

integrated internalization of cultural beauty standards into the model and it appears that

this internalization may be the mechanism by which sexually objectifying cultural

contexts shape self-objectification in women (Moradi et al.; Morry & Staska).

Although recent reported incidence rates of eating disorders among women of color

have increased (Crago et al., 1996; Striegel-Moore & Smolak, 2000), most of the

research on objectification theory and its correlates has been conducted on primarily

White/European American women. The present study addressed this gap in the literature









by extending objectification theory to a model applicable for Latina women. No prior

research has specifically examined the tenets of objectification theory in Latinas. All of

the hypothesized relations among variables specific to objectification theory, as well as

internalization of cultural beauty standards, were supported by the results for this sample

of Latina women. Acculturative stress was also found to play a significant role in

understanding eating disorder symptoms in the present sample. Accordingly, the results

of this study indicate that objectification theory can be applied to Latinas, with the added

culturally relevant variables of internalization of cultural beauty standards and

acculturative stress.

Similar to previous findings among samples of mostly White/European American

women (Fredrickson et al., 1998; Moradi et al.,2005; Morry & Staska, 2001; Noll &

Fredrickson, 1998; Tiggeman & Lynch, 2001; Tiggeman & Slater, 2001), results with the

present sample of Latina women indicated that each of the variables relevant to

objectification theory (i.e., self-objectification, body shame, and the most recently

incorporated variable of internalization of cultural beauty standards) are related directly

and uniquely to eating disorder symptomatology. Additionally, the present results

suggested that self-objectification and body shame also partially mediated the link of

internalization of cultural beauty standards to eating disorder symptoms. Based on these

findings and the results of previous research, it appears that for Latinas as well as for

White/European American women, increased internalization of cultural beauty standards

is related to increased self-objectification, which is linked with increased body shame,

which, in turn, is related to eating disorder symptoms. In addition to this series of









mediated links, internalization, self-objectification, and body shame each are related

uniquely and directly to eating disorder symptomatology.

Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) proposed that objectification theory is applicable to

women of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to the extent that all women,

regardless of ethnicity, are embedded within patriarchal, sexually objectifying cultural

contexts. The current findings indicate that this proposition may be true, at least in

extending objectification theory to Latinas. However, the results of this study also

suggest that the ethnocultural variable of acculturative stress is an important addition to

objectification theory in extending its applicability to understanding eating disorder

symptomatology among Latinas. The results indicated that acculturative stress was

related significantly and uniquely to both greater body shame and eating disorder

symptoms among Latinas. Furthermore, body shame was a partial mediator of the link

from acculturative stress to eating disorder symptoms in the present sample of Latinas.

These results are consistent with the only other known study that examined the role of

acculturative stress in eating disorders, in which acculturative stress was found to

contribute to variance in bulimia symptoms (Perez et al., 2002). The present results

suggest that acculturative stress is an important sociocultural factor associated with both

body shame and eating disorder symptomatology in Latinas and should be included as an

additional component when examining objectification theory among Latinas.

Contrary to the significant role of acculturative stress in the present results,

hypothesized relations between acculturation and the other variables under study were

not supported. Acculturation was expected to relate positively and directly to

internalization of cultural beauty standards and indirectly to increased self-objectification,









body shame, and eating disorder symptoms. These expectations were based on past

research suggesting that acculturation may be related positively with eating disorder

symptoms (Cachelin et al., 2000; Chamorro & Flores-Ortiz, 2000; Franko & Herrera,

1997; Pumariega, 1986). However, most of the previous studies that found a positive link

between acculturation and eating disorder symptoms examined acculturation either very

narrowly (Cachelin et al.), measuring acculturation based primarily on generation level

and English language preference, or used measures of acculturation that are not well

validated (Franko & Herrera; Pumariega). In a review of research on ethnic differences in

eating disorders, Gilbert (2003) postulated that one of the various limitations of eating

disorder research among women of color is inconsistency in the use of valid acculturation

measures and that improper measurement of acculturation fails to consider the

multidimensional aspects of acculturation. In addition, even when a well-validated

measure of acculturation was used (Chamorro & Flores-Ortiz), analyses did not control

for the important role of BMI when examining the relation between acculturation and

eating disorder symptoms.

The present study used a measure of acculturation that has been well validated and

has been used extensively in acculturation research (SASH; Marin et al., 1987). The

present study also accounted for the role of BMI and used path analytic techniques to

assess more complex interrelationships among all of the variables under study. Indeed,

Lester and Petrie (1995) found similar results when they also measured acculturation with

a well-validated measure (ARSMA; Cuellar et al., 1980) and conducted regression

analyses accounting for the role of both BMI and sociocultural beliefs about

attractiveness (a construct comparable to internalization of cultural beauty standards).









Their findings, similar to the present study, indicated that acculturation did not account

for unique variance in bulimia symptoms among their sample of Mexican American

undergraduate university women, though both BMI and sociocultural beliefs about

attractiveness did. Another study conducted with a sample of Mexican American

adolescent girls similarly did not find a link between acculturation and eating disorder

symptoms (Joiner & Kashubeck, 1996).

The lack of a significant relationship in the current study between acculturation and

either internalization of cultural beauty standards or eating disorders may have been due

to a true lack of relationship between these variables, once the roles of BMI and age are

considered. On the other hand, the current sample had a high mean acculturation score on

the SASH compared to the normative sample, perhaps indicating that this sample of

Latinas is not representative of the full range of acculturation among the U.S. population

of Latinas. Consequently, this study should be replicated with a sample having a wider

range of acculturation scores in order to determine whether restricted range may have

affected the current results. Nevertheless, the accumulated knowledge seems to suggest

that either there is not a true relationship between acculturation and eating disorders or

that the relationship is complex and is subsumed by the roles of BMI, age, internalization

of cultural beauty standards, and acculturative stress.

Furthermore, it appears that the stress associated with the acculturation process

(rather than acculturation in general) is a critical variable to consider in extending

objectification theory to Latinas. The current findings indicate that it is not the process of

becoming more acculturated to U.S. society that is related to Latina women's levels of

body shame and eating disorder symptoms, but rather the extent to which that process is









experienced as stressful that is linked to increased body shame and increased tendency to

exhibit eating disorder symptoms. This interpretation also is supported by Moyerman and

Forman (1992), who conducted a meta-analysis of research on the relationship between

acculturation and various adjustment variables, including self-esteem, locus of control,

family conflict, anxiety/stress, intelligence, and psychosocial/health. Based on an

examination of overall effect sizes, they concluded that acculturation did not have a

consistent relationship with any of the adjustment measures. They also concluded that

anxiety/stress was highest at the beginning of the acculturation process and decreased

with greater acculturation, which is consistent with the concept of acculturative stress as

well as with the significant negative correlation found in this study between the two

variables. It is important to note, however, that despite a significant negative correlation

between acculturation and acculturative stress, the mean scores for both of these scales

were somewhat high for the present sample. This indicates, as has been proposed by other

authors (Smart & Smart, 1995), that acculturative stress may be a particularly relevant

mental health concern for Latinas in general and in particular as a risk factor for eating

disorders, even among those who are highly acculturated.

Additionally, neither acculturative stress nor acculturation was linked to

internalization of cultural beauty standards in the current sample. It has been proposed

that the risk for developing eating disorders in women of color may relate to attempts to

emulate a beauty ideal based on White/European American standards of beauty

(Thompson, 1996). This might mean that either acculturation or acculturative stress,

perhaps experienced from comparing oneself to White/European American beauty

standards, might be associated with internalization of cultural beauty standards. The









current results indicate that neither general acculturation nor acculturative stress is related

to internalization of cultural beauty standards. It may thus be argued that such

internalization is more likely, as found by both Moradi et al. (2005) and Morry and

Staska (2001), to occur uniquely from gender related sexually objectifying cultural

experiences in which all women in general find themselves. Therefore, as postulated by

Fredrickson and Roberts (1997), the results of this study suggest that Latina women may

be as likely to self-objectify as White/European American women and in turn be at risk

for body shame and eating disorders due to being embedded within a sexually

objectifying patriarchal cultural context. The present results indicate that, in addition to

internalization of cultural beauty standards and self-objectification, acculturative stress is

an important risk factor for both body shame and eating disorders among Latinas and

should be considered in any examination of the cultural factors associated with eating

disorders for Latinas.

Limitations and Future Directions

Although the current study adds to research supporting objectification theory by

extending its applicability to Latina women, several limitations should be considered

when interpreting its findings. As mentioned above, the somewhat high average

acculturation level of this sample may have affected the lack of an observed relationship

between acculturation and other variables of interest. On the other hand, the research on

the relationship between acculturation and eating disorders is equivocal and more clarity

on the association between these variables would be provided by continued research

using appropriately validated measures of acculturation. The effects of age in this sample

were an interesting finding that were not specifically hypothesized and lends further

support to previous findings that self-objectification tends to decrease with increased age









(Greenleaf, 2005). More research is needed on the relationship between age and the

variables associated with objectification theory.

Another limitation of this study was the use of self-reported weight and height to

make calculations about actual body size through BMI. The potential exists for

inaccuracy in self-reports and future studies should be conducted in which women are

actually weighed using a scale and have their heights measured as well. On the other

hand, this limitation exists for the majority of eating disorder research and Heymsfield et

al. (1995) recommended BMI as a practical self-report measure of human body

composition given that most people tend to know their approximate height and weight

and any potential systematic bias would be unimportant in studies where BMI is

correlated with other variables. It is also important to recognize that, though path analytic

research is helpful in assessing complex relationships among several variables and in

determining which relationships among the variables are the most important, the results

are still correlational. Experimental research is needed to test the inferences about the

direction of the relationships from internalization of cultural beauty standards to self-

objectification, to body shame, and to eating disorder symptoms, as well as from

acculturative stress to body shame and to eating disorder symptoms.

Although the present study begins to provide support for the applicability of

objectification theory to women of color, these results can only be generalized to women

of Latino/Hispanic background. Therefore, future research should attempt to replicate the

current findings in women of other ethnic/cultural groups, taking into consideration any

other variables that may be of particular interest in that population. It would also be

interesting to replicate this study with samples of women whose backgrounds are from









different Latin American countries as well as examine differences among Latinas of

varying racial compositions. As was noted by responses to the demographic question

about ethnic/racial self-identification, not all Latinas self-identify as just "Latina." More

research is also needed on the factors that contribute to eating disorders in men.

Another related issue is that these results are only generalizable to nonclinical

populations and primarily college students. However, it has been found that Latinas are

less likely to be identified as having an eating disorder when symptoms exist (Gordon,

Perez, & Joiner, 2002) and have differential access to treatment for eating disorders

(Becker, Franko, Speck, & Herzog, 2003). Therefore, clinical samples of Latinas may not

capture the full extent of the impact of self-objectification and related variables on eating

disorders among Latinas. Epidemiological research is needed to examine the prevalence

of eating disorders among Latinas as well as other women of color. It was relevant to the

purpose of this study to recruit a community-based sample in addition to university

students and future research could also focus either primarily or exclusively on

community-based samples. Conducting similar research with clinical samples would also

provide an understanding of the relevance of objectification theory among Latinas who

are in treatment for eating disorders.

This study extends the research on eating disorders in general and objectification

theory in particular by providing a comprehensive model that can be applied to the

understanding of eating disorders among Latina women. The current results highlight the

important role that acculturative stress may play in eating disorders among Latinas and

further research is needed in this area. Acculturative stress research in general is in early

development and only one previous study was found that evaluated the role of









acculturative stress in eating disorders (Perez et al., 2002). Future research could focus on

which factors contribute to acculturative stress and which aspects of acculturative stress

affect eating disorders.

Implications for Practice

This research also has important implications for clinical practice. Clinicians

should be aware of the extent to which the women they work with, including Latinas,

have internalized cultural standards of beauty, especially for those who clearly have

experienced examples of sexually objectifying contexts, such as incest, sexual assault, or

harassment. Women should be educated about the potential mental health consequences

of internalization of cultural beauty standards, including self-objectification and body

shame, which can then lead to eating disorder symptoms. For clinicians working with

Latinas in particular, it is important to understand the role of acculturative stress in body

shame and eating disorder symptoms. The results of this study indicate that acculturation

may not play a significant role in eating disorders. Therefore, Latinas from all

acculturation levels may be at comparable levels of risk for developing eating disorders.

However, clinicians should attend to the various sociocultural stressors that Latinas they

work with have experienced and how these may contribute to acculturative stress and by

extension to body shame and eating disorders.














APPENDIX
DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONS

The following questions are for demographic purposes, to get a sense of who you are.
Please fill in your responses or circle the number for the appropriate response to each
question.

1. Age 2. Sex/Gender 3. Height 4. Weight

5. How would YOU describe your ethnicity/race? (If multiracial, mark all that apply.)
1 = African-American/Black (non-Hispanic)
2 = American Indian or Alaskan Native
3 = Asian or Pacific-Islander
4 = European-American/White (non-Hispanic)
5 = Latina(o)/Hispanic White
6 = Latina(o)/Hispanic Black
7 = Other (Specify: )

6. How would OTHERS describe your ethnicity/race? (If multiracial, mark all that
apply.)
1 = African-American/Black (non-Hispanic)
2 = American Indian or Alaskan Native
3 = Asian or Pacific-Islander
4 = European-American/White (non-Hispanic)
5 = Latina(o)/Hispanic White
6 = Latina(o)/Hispanic Black
7 = Other (Specify:

7. What is your estimated average household income? (Refer to your parents' income
level if you live with them or are a dependent).
1 = below $15,000 annually
2 = $15,000 $20,000 annually
3 = $21,000 $30,000 annually
4 = $31,000 $50,000 annually
5 = $51, 000 $100,000 annually
6 = $101,000 $200,000 annually
7 = above $200,000 annually

8. What is your sexual orientation?
1 = heterosexual
2 = gay or lesbian
3 = bisexual









4 = transgendered or other

9. Where were you born?
1 = U.S.A. (not including Puerto Rico)
2 = Mexico
3 = Cuba
4 = Puerto Rico
5 = Central/South America (Specify Country:
6 = Other (Specify Country:

10. Where were your parents born? (If parents were each born in different countries,
circle both and indicate each by writing in an "M" next to your mother's country of birth
and an "F" next to your father's country of birth.)
1 = U.S.A. (not including Puerto Rico)
2 = Mexico
3 = Cuba
4 = Puerto Rico
5 = Central/South America (Specify Country: )
6 = Other (Specify Country: )

11. Answer this question only if you were born in the U.S. Please indicate whether you
are:
1 = 1st generation (parents not born in the US)
2 = 2nd generation American (parents were the first
in their families born in the US)
3 = 3rd generation American (grandparents were the
first in their families born in the US)
4 = Other (family has been in the US for more than 3
generations)

12. If you were born outside of the U.S., at what age did you first arrive?

13. How well do you read and understand English?
1 = very poorly
2 = poorly
3 = fairly well
4 = well
5 = very well

14. Based on your level of English reading ability, do you feel that you understood the
questions in this survey enough to provide accurate responses?
1 = Yes
2 = No
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

I am a Cuban American raised in Miami, FL. I completed my undergraduate studies

at the University of Florida, where I graduated with honors in 1997 with a Bachelor of

Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology. I then attended the University

of Miami and obtained a Master of Science in Education for mental health counseling in

1999. My psychotherapy training at the University of Miami included practicum

experiences in its university-based community mental health center as well as at a

transitional living facility for persons with severe mental illness. I returned to the

University of Florida in Fall of 1999 to complete a Doctor of Philosophy degree in

counseling psychology. I continued with practical training experiences at the University

Counseling Center and at a forensic state psychiatric hospital. I also gained research

knowledge and experience working in projects on emotional expressiveness, roles in the

family environment, and posttraumatic stress among car crash survivors. I completed my

first original research with a master's level thesis equivalency on body image and

acculturation among Latinas.

I have expanded on that research with the present dissertation study on the role of

objectification theory and other sociocultural variables in eating disorder

symptomatology among Latinas. I also continued my practical training with an internship

at a community mental health center servicing low-income, multicultural, primarily

Latino/Hispanic clients in Brooklyn, New York. After completing the one-year pre-

doctoral internship, I have remained in New York for the past year and a half and






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continue to work in Brooklyn at an outpatient chemical dependency center affiliated with

the institution where I completed my internship and servicing a similar population. I

specialize in working with co-occuring substance abuse and mental health issues,

including eating disorders, as well as with women's issues, multicultural issues,

posttraumatic stress, domestic violence, and survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I

consider myself a scientist-practitioner and have applied what I learned in completing this

dissertation within my professional psychotherapy work.