The methodologies primarily focus on the purpose of the study that examines the impact that cultural norms and expectations have on the value of beauty and attractiveness as risk factors for developing eating disorders among young female adults in our society today. In this section, theoretical foundation, sample selection, procedures for data collection and instrumentation shall be discussed. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK The current studies on the eating disorders, identity formation among women and ethnicity are interlinked with the historical perspective.
Therefore, theoretical framework for studying eating disorders is rooted in the models used in study of identity and ego identity. Theoretical framework dates back to works of Marcia‘s (1966) and Erikson (1959a), who invested in research on the identity development and ego development. In their studies, they noted that ethnicity and race plays a significant role in identity development. Therefore, self understanding in social relations with others can be perceived better from the two theorist’s dimension with insight to eating disorders.
Theoretical Foundation The theoretical foundation for the study of eating disorders has been guided by the studies of the models of ethnic identity within the broad study of identity and ego identity (Erikson, 1959a; Marcia, 1966). In this regard, identity refers to individual‘s sameness within him or herself, and a sharing of essential character with others as defined by Erikson, (1959b). Additionally, identity is crucial to human beings personality that gives meaning and significance to the world of that individual.
On the other hand, ego identity is the integration of the crises of youth and an ever-changing society, which is dominant during adolescence, a time when individuals face the task of integrating their childhood experiences, their experiences, those of others, and roles offered by society. Identity Formation It is points of worth to mention that identity is core to person’s personality add value and magnitude to the world of that person. On this concept, Eriksson’s model of origin of ethnic identity theory, propose 8 psychological stages in development of a healthy personality for an individual.
However, the fifth phase of identity versus identity diffusion of personality development is more appropriate to this research. In this phase, the person is usually faced with major task of integrating previous childhood stages with later adulthood stages of development (Carolyn,1999, p. 195). Contrarily, there is distinction between childhood stages of development whereby in later stages of development increasing meaning is given to the availability, peers and coercive nature of society.
This is opposed to previous childhood phases when particular meaning is given to images of children’s bodies and those of their parents. Relevantly to the research topic, this fifth phase of identity versus identity diffusion of personality development; explains the reason why are preoccupied with their appearance in others eyes and determining what roles are significant in their culture. It is within this phase of development that the adolescent fall and are deeply concerned with searching for models to shape their identity in the society and how they appear in the eyes of their peers, especially opposite sex.
The phase of identity versus identity diffusion of personality development relevance to identity development in Eriksson’s identity theory is not limited to an individual identity development only, but also useful in explaining identity development of constitutes of minority groups in relation to majority culture. The perspective of Eriksson’s theory (Erikson, 1959b) of identity has an insight of identity development of minority groups. Under this theory, the minority or oppressed groups in the society are usually aware of ideals presented by the majority culture, but are prevented from imitating them.
As a result, minority cultures adopt negative images purported by the majority culture and use them to develop a negative identity within their own group. Thus, many people in the society identifies with the majority culture leading to majority culture being forced to protect their culture. For example, Black Americans have been impacted by identification in the sense that, restricted opportunities and pressures of traditions; forced Black Americans to identify with whites that have long oppressed them, thus restricting American identity formation among the Blacks group.
Furthermore, Marcia (1993) developed a construct of three components known as a foundation model for ethnic identity. These three components that enable researchers to view identity as a construct are; Behavioral: This refers to observable behaviors that pinpoint the presence or absence of an identity structure. Phenomenological: Refers to decisions about influences to follow, like affiliations with certain groups or persons, and what beliefs and values to adopt. Structural: This refers to the consequences that identity has on other psychodynamic processes. Ethnic identity development
The to core theoretical foundation of studies of eating disorders is ethnic identity development. In this perspective, Ethnic identity focuses on cultural socialization that makes it greatly differ with racial identity that focuses on historical contexts of racism. Apart from focusing on the cultural socialization, ethnic identity also encompass: a sense of belonging, self-identification or self-labeling, religious affiliation and practice, positive and negative attitudes about one‘s ethnic group, political activity and ideology, association with members of one‘s group and area of residence.
In this regard, ethnic identity develops when people make contact with and subsequently differentiate themselves from other ethnic group which enables persons to make informed decision about their ethnicity and that of others. The aspect of an individual identifying with his or her ethnic identity ranges from confusion to commitment with one reference group. Psychologically, model of ethnic identity development is guided by model of Phinney, (1996b).
Who state that ethnic identity development start from childhood and is shaped at period of young phase of adulthood. He suggests that infants and adolescents as they grow, they advance unaware of knowledge about their history culture and ethnicity of their group which are not given by community or society and adults. At an early stage of ethnic identity development, individual’s ethnicity has a low priority within a growing child as a child take cues from social interactions with others and absorption of environment around them (Regard, 2008, p. 248).
Within this time and phase of development, child experiences starts from no exposure to his or her ethnicity to reception of negative and positive message about their ethnicity or both. This affects the child when he or she enters next phase of development: adolescence, the child shall have negative, positive or mixed feelings about their ethnicity. This second phase of development shall be with a lot of curiosity about ethnicity of an individual, which shall result to a young adolescent exploring or seeking to gain knowledge about her or his ethnicity.
Thus, this knowledge gaining mission make adolescent seek learning experiences within his or her culture. When there is facilitated learning, the individual gains positive feelings towards their group as a result of studying the culture of their particular group, or otherwise negative feelings (Franko. 1998;Lask,& Bryant, 2000; Regard, 2008). If leaning of individual is facilitated well, at final phase of development, a person develops a concrete sense of within their ethnic group. As a result, young adult achieve ethnic identity through appreciating and understanding their ethnicity.
As they take pride in holding to their group with other members while encouraging external interactions with other majority groups. This stage places a solid foundation for person’s feelings about diversity and differences between the minority and majority groups as one reaches an acceptance that their minority group suffers low status in the society (Carolyn,1999, p. 200). However, if the leaning deviates along the way the results are reverse, which are risk to the society in relation to eating disorder development.
Acculturation Acculturation is another major concept that relates to ethnic identity apart from identity development and ethnic identity formation, but they supplement each other in forming a solid theoretical foundation for better understanding of eating disorders in society. Lask and Bryant, (2000), define acculturation as changes within a culture after interaction with another culture. It is relevant psychologically since this interaction results into psychological changes like change in persons behaviors, value and attitudes.
When individuals are exposed to a new culture, they learn new norms, attitudes, values and develop a level of acceptance of these changes that they have been exposed to. As a result, the acculturated culture is often reinforced, changed or modified during the process of acculturation. For instance, ethnic minorities and immigrants are more influenced by the dominant or majority culture than they can influence. The empirical example is the African Americam women who reside with neighborhood of white women are more influenced to strive for slim body sizes than they can influence their white counterparts to seek weight gaining measures.
In this way, the minority or immigrants starts to adopt a biethnic status. Since acculturation involves both relationship with the new culture and relationship with the ethnic culture (Rachel, 2002, pp. 312). Where change always happen in the process of interacting through the following three steps of contact, conflict and adaptation. In the above three steps to acculturate, contact is the most important and determinant of two others that follows thereafter. Whereby, contact between cultures which are undergoing a process of acculturation can be symbolic or physical.
And can happen through the processes of technology, education, trade, enslavement or invasion. After contact of these cultures, the resultant is conflict due to resistance to protect the interest of cultures of origin. This is because most ethnic groups do not give up easily or easily acculturate their original ethnic culture. The minority ethnic groups resist external pressures from the majority cultures. In the process of resisting the external pressure, both majority ethnic group and acculturated ethnic group modify themselves in an effort to coexist amidst efforts to stabilize the conflict.
Ethnic Identity and Eating Disorders This theoretical orientation is believed to have been jumpstarted and developed by the most recent research by researchers like Nielsen, (2000); Arriaza & Mann, (2001); Topping, (2001); who conducted their studies guided by the theoretical orientation of ethnic groups to study the prevalence of eating disordered behaviors and attitudes, body image concerns and eating disorders. For instance the study with Asian-American women was conducted by Kambara et al, (1998), African-American women by Nielsen, (2000), Asian by Tsai et al. , (2003) and white (Cachelin et al. , 2001).
These studies indicated prevalence of eating disordered behaviors and attitudes, body image concerns and eating disorders among varied ethnic groups. The conclusion reached after study conducted with samples of all these ethnically diverse groups, depicted they exhibit eating disordered behaviors and attitudes, body image concerns and eating disorders and not immune. In addition to this, these studies revealed that women who associate, identify with and interact with white majority culture are more likely to adopt whites’ attitudes about dieting excessively and being extremely thin like African American women.
Therefore, may be at risk for developing disordered eating behavior and attitudes. Furthermore, other researchers have used ethnic identity approach to study eating disorders. These studies indicate that ethnic identity is one of the risk factors for the development of disordered eating behaviors and attitudes. This has been done through sampling women from various backgrounds such as White (Cachelin, et al. , 2001), Hispanic (Cachelin, et al. , 2001; Kuba & Harris, 2001), Asian (Ogden & Elder, 1998; Heinberg, 2003), Blacks (Lester & Petrie, 1998) and Australian (Staiger, 2000).
During these studies, the sample selected included only women who met diagnostic criteria for Bulimia and/or Anorexia were used during the study. Research outcomes reflected high levels of ethnic identity serve to protect ethnic minorities from developing eating disorders. For instance, the research conducted by Ogden & Elder, (1998), reported no relationship between eating disordered behaviors and ethnic identity through focusing on Asian and white mothers and their daughters. Research outcomes indicated that White girls were most concerned with their body weight and most dissatisfied with their body images.
The Asian mothers reported high concern with weight, because they identify with their culture and lack of identification with the White media ideal. Therefore, this lack of identification with the White media ideal shields these Asian mothers from calorie concerns and body image. Additionally, Mexican American and Blacks women who internalized society‘s beliefs about attractiveness, were at a greater risk for eating disorders. Lester and Petrie (1998) with other researchers reported no relationship between ethnic identity and risk for developing eating disorders.
They argued that non identification with White culture and the process of internalization of societal ideals is associated with low body satisfaction and low self-esteem. The research conducted by Emory et al. (2001), established that there is a relationship between risk of developing eating disorders and level of woman’s ethnic identification. A good example is the group of Mexican American women found to have developed eating disturbances behavior which was rooted in acculturation and ethnic identity.
Thus, ethnic membership plays a major role in developing eating disordered behaviors and attitudes. Interaction of cultures in the process of acculturation ((Mastria, 2002; Kuba & Harris, 200) significantly plays a major role for development of eating disorders. In the sense that most minority ethnic group women or immigrants who contact the majority ethnic group or hosts during the process of acculturation are at a greater risk of developing eating disorders than their male peers.
This was developed with insight that an increased acculturation to White culture results in more emphasis on body image, eating and weight. In this regard, minority ethnic group that internalizes white culture and beliefs about beauty and attractiveness ideals may be at risk of developing eating disorders. A practical example being African American and Mexican American women who internalized white culture belief in regard to beauty and attractiveness indicated that they were at a greater risk for eating disorders.
Other studies conducted by McCarthy, Siegel, &Yancey, (2000); indicated that minority culture which does not internalize attractiveness message from the majority culture in their society remains protected from risks of eating disorders. For example African American women who do not internalize messages from their white cultured counterparts showed low depression, increased positive feeling and acceptance of extra weight as a result of their strong ethnic identity that guarded and protected them from developing eating disorders.
Tsai et al. (2003); had a comparative study of Taiwanese American and Taiwanese women and results of this studies suggested that duration by which Taiwanese women stayed in the US lowered significantly her Taiwanese identity by scoring lowly and more risk for developing eating disorders. While Taiwanese women who strongly identify with the traditional norms and values, were more dissatisfied with their bodies hence indicated more disordered eating patterns.
While Harris, (2001); reported that college women were faced with an internal struggle between their traditional and the dominant White culture in their institution of studies and environment around them. For instance the African American, Hispanic and Mexican American females at college depicted this internal struggle and as a consequence of this struggle, concerns for self-destructive behaviors, dieting and weight increased posing them to a risk of developing eating disorders. This is despite their families being rigid on their traditional believes and stressing traditional value to their kids.
Perception of Others’ and Eating Disorders Perception as a significant social variable has been used to investigate and study eating disorders. This was based on the effects of partner’s peer and family perceptions which are attributed to as major factors in the development of disturbed body image perception in females. Additionally, male preferences as reveled in the study are the cause for developing negative body image perception for women leading to development of disordered eating behaviors and attitudes.
Evidently, as established by Molloy & Herzberger, (1998); Blacks women are encouraged to have larger bodies because Blacks men prefer larger women‘s bodies. In addition to that, Blacks males also reported a desire for their female peers to gain weight and increase their body size. This and many other examples are as an indicator of how opposite sex or peers perception is seen as a drive for females to have a good and attractive body image that exposes them to risk of developing eating disorders.
Moreover, dating and marital relationships as well as women‘s assumptions of others’ preferences are some of the risk factor for developing eating disorders (Stanford & McCabe, 2002). Other research found out that women in relationships had more severe symptoms and a greater incidence of binging and purging behaviors (Lask and Bryant, 2000, p. 251). Unfortunately, conflicts in relationships and severe problems such as dating violence and date rape have also been associated with disordered eating.
For instance, relational difficulties and attempts of a female e counterparts trying to please their partner in relation to maintaining perfection in the relationship amongst women in relationship, many women sought eating disordered behaviors to achieve this. While other relationship difficulties, date rape, date violence which is related to the concept of peers opinions and perception as a driving force for the developing disordered eating behaviors, are related to the causes of developing eating disorders.
Lask and Bryant, (2000), explain that at adolescent most individuals are at a crucial stage of forming their body image formation. These acts of violence and relationship difficulties make the adolescent females more sensitive, more susceptible; hence lead them to develop a distorted and negative image of themselves. And the only way out is to develop disordered eating attitudes and behaviors to gain control of an ideal body image. The opposite sex peers or male appear to affect their female counterparts body image. Psychological concept about body image (Schwartz, 1987, p.
103), state that individuals regardless whether male or female have an inconsistency between their actual and an ideal body size. Whereby any message sent to an individual about his or her body size is taken in with a lot of seriousness. In this case, women are more sensitive than men to message that relate to their body sizes from opposite sex or peers that make them more susceptible to distortions in body image in striving to have an ideal body size. In this connection, studies done on the opposite sex or peers sex preference has insight to explaining different body sizes exhibited a cross races.
White women in their false assumptions perceive that male peers prefer thin ladies to heavy ones. As it offers ground for a distorted perception that explain why white females are at greater risk of developing eating disorders than their black counterparts (Franko. 1998;Lask,& Bryant, 2000; Regard, 2008). While on the other side Black males reported a desire for their female peers to gain weight and increase their body size. Which encourages Blacks women to have larger bodies because Blacks men prefer larger women‘s bodies.
Generally, on the concept of perception of others and eating disorder, the emphasis is placed upon the role of social factors affects body image in adolescent as a developmental process and preferences of other sex peers or opposite sex peers to young adult women. The development stage during adolescence and young adulthood is of subsequent importance of others perceptions and critical to an individual (Carolyn,1999, p. 312). While opposite sex peers and pals opinions have tremendous influence to the body image of young women in age bracket 18 to 22 years that are dominantly affected by disordered eating behaviors and attitudes.
Empirically, white female adolescents strive most to achieve thin body due to skewed perception about men preference, while black adolescent are encouraged to have large bodies. Therefore, in studying of the risk factors for developing eating disorders this component of distorted perception should be taken into account to have credible, valid and reliable results. Participants The best sample selection option for the research shall be university or college female student. This is due to convenience of getting study sample and diversity required to address components of research question.
Importantly, psychological scholars suggest that identity research should be conducted within college population for credible outcomes. College environment is suitable for this research because: is an institution where identity formation usually takes place; most researchers reside in college campuses; and the age of most students at college is between 18-22 years which are at the age of identity resolution. Therefore, within this college population identity formation or a lack thereof relates to such psychological outcomes like conformity or self-esteem.
Marcia, (1997); emphasize that identity achievement persons are more resilient in that they conform less and experience less distress against external pressures than any other status, therefore may not be at risk of developing eating disorders. To enhance the diversity of the research that meet the objective, the sample shall be selected separately from a historically White and Blacks institution. Thus, this selection shall facilitate comprehensive research on the desired racial groups of Blacks and Whites.
Additionally, the participants shall be selected basing on the differences in the field of studies. Description of the Sample Description of the study sample shall be based on the percentage and number of each racial group sampled from the chosen institutions. Sub-descriptions shall include religious background, courses, mean age, socio-economic status background and parental descriptions like education, income, occupation and religion (Foulks, 1998, p. 278). Demographics Form The demographics form shall be included to add credibility and accuracy of the outcomes of the research and instrumentation.
This is because the form contains data that relates to the description of the participant’s like gender, age, year of study, religion, race/ethnicity (Rachel, 2002, pp. 218), parent’s education and occupation, socioeconomic status. However, it is important to note that, categories for race/ethnicity and religion shall be obtained from the U. S. Census (2000) to facilitate the research. Instrumentation Body Dissatisfaction subscale. This scale measures the participant‘s dissatisfaction with areas of the body like; hips, stomach, thighs, and buttocks which are of great concern to eating disordered patients (Ogden & Elder, 1998).
This owes to the fact that body dissatisfaction is a major feature in the development and maintenance of weight restricting behaviors that accompany eating disorders. Contour Drawing Rating Scale This scale is used to measure the discrepancy between participant‘s opinion of their current body size and ideal body size. This has nine male and nine female front-view body drawings that gradually increase in size, especially with regards to waist-hip ratios. Therefore, the measure of discrepancy between participant‘s opinion of their current body size and ideal body size shall be obtained.
This allows the study to facilitate research for a more precise assessment of body image perception. Drive for Thinness subscale. This scale is constructed on the premise that, drive for thinness illustrates a key characteristic of the eating disordered patient. In this regard, items in this subscale measure behaviors and attitudes that demonstrates an extreme focus on fear of gaining weight, dieting and weight (Reiger, 2008, p. 275). Since this features that are geared towards drive for thinness in a patient are used in diagnosis of eating disorders. Eating disorders inventory-2 (EDI-2)
It is more of clinical based instrumentation. It contains 91-item that measures of evaluation clinical symptoms of eating disorders. However, it is not a diagnostic tool, but rather a device for aiding a typological research, screening and measuring the outcome. Multi-group ethnic identity measure (MEIM)) The instrument assesses the participant’s ethnic identity through the use of 15 – items self report measure. This is done through focus on three major areas that concerns ethnic identity (Rachel, 2002, p. 243): positive ethnic attitudes and sense of belonging, ethnic behaviors and ethnic identity achievement.
In other words, Multi-group ethnic identity measure focuses on ethnic identity search affirmation, belonging, and commitment in relation to development of eating disorders. Procedures The procedure shall follow the formal permission obtaining process from the institution and consent of the participants to be involved in the research. After which the formal research conducting shall follow to obtain the data from the field upon time schedule granted. However, after researching; the outcomes shall be compared to the previous works of the researchers.