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

23 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



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

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