Cultural factors in collegiate eating disorder pathology: When family culture clashes with individual culture

A. Janet Tomiyama, Traci Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors evaluated the validity of familial enmeshment (extreme proximity in family relationships) as a risk factor for eating disorders across cultural value orientations. They tested the hypothesis that although familial enmeshment may be a risk factor for eating disorder pathology for (1) participants of non-Asian descent or (2) culturally independent participants, enmeshment will not be a risk factor for (1) participants of Asian descent or (2) culturally interdependent participants. Participants: 255 undergraduate women participated. Methods: Participants completed questionnaires on cultural value orientations, enmeshment, and eating disorder pathology. Results: As hypothesized, enmeshment was related to eating disorder pathology in non-Asian American and culturally independent participants, but not in Asian American and culturally interdependent participants. Conclusions: Depending on cultural values, enmeshment may or may not be a risk factor for eating disorders. This study highlights the importance of examining risk factors in the appropriate cultural framework when considering college student mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of American College Health
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008

Keywords

  • Asian culture
  • College health
  • Eating disorder pathology
  • Enmeshment
  • Independence
  • Interdependence

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