Research has shown that sociocultural factors such as interpersonal appearance-related commentary influence body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Few studies have investigated the effects of appearance-related commentary among undergraduate women of different ethnic groups. The aims of the current study were to examine: (1) ethnic differences in body dissatisfaction, eating disorder psychopathology, sociocultural attitudes towards appearance, appearance-related commentary, and acculturation to Western culture in African-, European-, and Hispanic Americans; and (2) negative appearance-related commentary and acculturation to Western culture as moderators of the relationship between body dissatisfaction and eating disorder psychopathology. Participants included 345 undergraduate women (Mage = 19.17, SD = 1.48; 47.5% European American, 23.8% African American, and 13.6% Hispanic American). Results indicated that European American women reported higher levels of sociocultural attitudes towards appearance and greater negative effects as a result of receiving negative weight and shape-related commentary than African American women. Hispanic American women reported greater negative effects as a result of receiving positive weight and shape-related commentary in comparison to European American women. There were positive associations between the negative effects of receiving positive commentary and reported levels of body dissatisfaction and eating disorder psychopathology in African- and European American women. In European- and Hispanic American women, higher levels of acculturation were associated with fewer negative effects as a result of receiving positive commentary. Negative weight and shape-related commentary and acculturation were not significant moderators of the relationship between body dissatisfaction and eating disorder psychopathology in all three ethnic groups. Results suggest that the three groups of women have similar levels of body image and eating disorder psychopathology. However, European Americans reported higher levels of sociocultural attitudes and greater negative effects of receiving negative weight and shape-related commentary, which may place this group at higher risk for eating disorder psychopathology. Findings from this study increase our understanding of the potential effects of appearance-related commentary and the role of acculturation on perceptions of commentary among different groups. In addition, such findings may be used to inform interventions for body image and eating disturbance in ethnic groups.
School of Behavioral Health
Betancourt, Hector M.
Morrell, Holly E. R.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Body Image - Psychological aspects; Self-perception; Eating Disorders;
Subject - Local
Appearance Satisfaction; Eating Disorder Psychopathology; Appearance-related commentary; Body Dissatisfaction
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Moldovan, Christina P., "Appearance-Related Commentary and Body Image in Women" (2016). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 401.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives