The Clash of Culture and Cuisine: Conflicting Expectations and Disordered Eating in Chinese Adolescent Women
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Although eating disorders have commonly been considered to affect predominantly white female populations, they have found to be increasingly prevalent in Chinese contexts. Despite the well-established negative consequences of eating disorders and body image disturbances, there has been a significant lack of cross-cultural research conducted on these issues in Chinese populations to date. The purpose of the present study is to fill this research gap by 1) exploring the perception of conflicting expectations regarding cultural eating norms and ideal body standards as a culturally specific risk factor in the development of disordered eating and body image concerns in Chinese adolescent women, 2) using existing research to develop a conceptual model of strategies that women may use to resolve the distress resulting from the perception of these conflicting expectations and 3) identifying risk and protective factors contributing to the choice of adaptive or maladaptive strategies. Thirty-four Chinese adolescent women (aged 18-22) participated in semi-structured interviews involving questions about typical mealtime scenarios, their perceptions of conflicts between expected eating behaviors and body shape standards, and how these conflicting expectations affected their emotions and satisfaction with their bodies. The results of this study provide initial support for the proposed conceptual model of conflict resolution, by demonstrating that the conflict of cultural expectations was a significant reason for distress reported by a majority of participants, and that different strategies of conflict resolution resulted in adaptive or maladaptive emotional and behavioral outcomes. Risk and protective factors in the development of disordered eating behaviors and attitudes in the present sample of Chinese adolescent women were identified following an analysis of responses; implications of these findings for future prevention, treatment and research efforts were also reported.
DepartmentPsychology and Neuroscience
CitationNg, Stephanie (2019). The Clash of Culture and Cuisine: Conflicting Expectations and Disordered Eating in Chinese Adolescent Women. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18344.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers