Dissertation Defense – Angela K. Montfort
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303
Body Satisfaction and Maladaptive Relationships with Food in African American Women
by Angela K. Montfort
The purpose of this study was to investigate body satisfaction and maladaptive relationships with food as it related to ethnic identity for college-aged African American women. The study acknowledged complexities inherent in women’s maladaptive eating behaviors. Researchers explored how maladaptive relationships with food may be moderated by ethnic identity (Rogers-Wood & Petrie. 2010), and associated with concerns for body image Ideals (Capodilupo & Kim, 2013; Cheney, 2011) or concerns related to health (Di Noia et al., 2009; Rich & Thomas, 2008). The study further examined the importance that women placed on appearance-related concerns in relationship to the importance that women placed on attending to concerns related to health. The sample consisted of 189 undergraduate and graduate African American women attending a university in the southeastern region of the United States, who were between the ages of 18 and 35.
Analyses of correlations suggested that maladaptive eating was associated with low body satisfaction and high concerns for appearance. Findings also suggested that higher levels of ethnic identity were associated with lower levels of body satisfaction. Body satisfaction was inversely related to body mass index, such that women with higher body mass indexes tended towards lower body satisfaction. There was no significant relationship between ethnic identity and maladaptive eating. Moreover, higher levels of ethnic identity were associated with lower levels of health consciousness. Contrary to what researchers predicted, body image satisfaction and concerns for appearance were positively correlated with the importance that women placed on health consciousness.
Multiple regression analyses were utilized to investigate the moderating effects of ethnic identity on the relationship between maladaptive eating and body satisfaction, as well as on the relationship between maladaptive eating and health consciousness. Regression analyses indicated significant moderating effects of ethnic identity only for the relationship between maladaptive eating and health consciousness. Ethnic identity moderated the relationship between maladaptive eating and health consciousness particularly for women with low levels of ethnic Identity, while accounting for body mass index and body image concerns. Clinical implications for addressing body image concerns, maladaptive eating, and concerns about health with African American women are discussed.