Relations among media influence, internalization, and body dissatisfaction: Comparing White and Asian-American college females
Valente, Joan K
Hill, Laura G
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Purpose: Previous research has used standard least square regression to show that internalization of the thin ideal may mediate the media exposure-body dissatisfaction relation in young adult Caucasian females. There is little or no research on Asian Americans. We used structural equations modeling (SEM) to test (1) whether media exposure is associated with body dissatisfaction in Asian American young adult females, and (2) whether internalization of the thin ideal mediates any such association for this group. We also used SEM to test whether the mediational model provided equivalent fit for Caucasian and for Asian American samples. Methods: Participants were 289 college undergraduate females (45.2% Caucasian, 51.5% Asian American). Each completed the study survey. Results: Hypotheses were supported. Internalization of the thin ideal explained the relation between media exposure and body dissatisfaction equally well for Asian American and for Caucasian young adult females. Conclusions: The broader literature on body dissatisfaction and eating pathology in Caucasian females may apply to Asian American females. Asian American females may also be engaging in the unhealthy weight control behaviors known to occur in college students, and may be prone to developing eating disorders at similar rates. Clinicians need to screen more carefully for unhealthy weight control behaviors, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorders in young adult Asian American females.