Eating disorders affect young women all across the world. In the United States, a sociocultural model has been proposed to explain the relationship between pathological eating attitudes and behaviors and Western culture (Keery, Van den Berg, & Thompson, 2004; Thompson, Heinberg, Altabe, & Tantleff-Dunn, 1999). This study seeks to examine if the same sociocultural factors that put women at risk for eating disorders in the United States also apply to Israeli women. An online survey was used to measure the sociocultural risk factors of pathological eating attitudes and behaviors among Israeli and American women ages 18-30 years. Regression models revealed that aspects of the sociocultural model (i.e., body image dissatisfaction and general internalization of the thin ideal), negative affect (i.e., brooding and depression), and country all significantly predicted maladaptive eating attitudes and behaviors. Country moderated this effect for body image dissatisfaction, anxiety, brooding, and intimate pressure to be thin, suggesting that the sociocultural model may apply to both Americans and Israelis but may be a slightly stronger predictor for Americans. This study suggests that Western beauty ideology, such as the thin ideal, may also affect eating pathology among women in a country that is not a traditional Western country.
Level of Honors
Levenstein, Yifat H., "Sociocultural Risk Factors for Maladaptive Eating Attitudes and Behaviors: A Cross Cultural Comparison" (2015). Lawrence University Honors Projects. Paper 73.