Body Dissatisfaction: Do Associations With Disordered Eating and Psychological Well-Being Differ Across Race/Ethnicity in Adolescent Girls and Boys?

Michaela M. Bucchianeri, Nisha Fernandes, Katie Loth, Peter J. Hannan, Marla E. Eisenberg, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: This study examined whether body dissatisfaction, and its associations with disordered eating and psychological well-being, differ significantly across racial/ethnic groups of adolescents. Method: Cross-sectional analysis using data from a large, population-based study of adolescents participating in Eating and Activity in Teens, 2010 (EAT 2010) (N = 2,793; Mage = 14.4 years). The sample was socioeconomically and racially/ethnically diverse (81% racial/ethnic minority; 54% low or low-middle income). Results: Body dissatisfaction differed significantly across racial/ethnic groups; Asian American girls and boys reported the most dissatisfaction with their bodies. Among boys, the relationship between body dissatisfaction and unhealthy weight control behaviors was moderated by race/ethnicity (p < .01), with a significantly weaker association for African American boys compared with those in other groups. Otherwise, the associations between body dissatisfaction and dieting and disordered eating did not vary significantly across racial/ethnic groups. Associations between body dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms and (boys') self-esteem differed significantly across racial/ethnic groups. Conclusion: In this study, with the exception of boys' unhealthy weight control behaviors, body dissatisfaction was associated with measures of dieting and disordered eating for youth across racial/ethnic groups. In addition, the association between body dissatisfaction and psychological well-being interacted significantly with adolescents' racial/ethnic backgrounds (with the exception of girls' self-esteem). Findings highlight specific racial/ethnic differences in the associations between body dissatisfaction and psychological well-being, and underscore the importance of addressing body dissatisfaction in youth of all racial/ethnic backgrounds. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - Jun 8 2015



  • Adolescents
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Depression
  • Disordered eating
  • Race/ethnicity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

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