Indexed on: 26 Mar '10Published on: 26 Mar '10Published in: Psychology in the Schools
Eating disorder research has predominantly focused on White adolescent females. More recent research suggests that eating disorders occur in various racial and age groups. The current study examines prevalence and stability of body image dissatisfaction and eating disturbance in 9- and 10-year-old girls and whether there is variability by racial group or socioeconomic status (SES). Five hundred eighty-one girls completed the Children's Eating Attitude Test (ChEAT) and the Body Image Measure (BIM). Results showed that 11% of the sample scored in the Anorexic range at age 9 and about 7% at age 10. When examining body image, 35% of the sample at age 9 and 38% at age 10 selected Ideal Figures that were smaller than their Real Figures on the BIM. There was a significant difference between the racial groups in their reports of eating disturbance, but not body image dissatisfaction. Specifically, the Minority group had higher eating disturbance scores on average at ages 9 and 10 when compared to the White group. SES did not account for eating disturbance or body image dissatisfaction. These results challenge the maxim that eating disturbance and body image dissatisfaction occur primarily in White females from middle and upper SES populations.