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Body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes in 7- to 11-year old girls: testing a sociocultural model
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Dr Elizabeth Evans
Dr Martin Tovee
Evans EH, Tovée MJ, Boothroyd LG, Drewett RF
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We examined the sociocultural model of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitude development in young girls for the first time. According to the model, internalising an unrealistically thin ideal body – not just being aware of its cultural prominence – increases the risk of disordered eating via body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint and depression. 127 school-girls aged 7-11 years completed measures of thin-ideal internalization and awareness, body dissatisfaction, dieting, depression and disordered eating attitudes. Participants’ height and weight were measured and their body mass index calculated. Thin-ideal internalization predicted disordered eating attitudes indirectly via body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint and depression; it also predicted disordered eating attitudes directly. Path analyses showed that a revised sociocultural model fit well with the data. These data show that a sociocultural framework for understanding disordered eating and body dissatisfaction in adults is useful, with minor modifications, in understanding the development of related attitudes in young girls.
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