The Role of Ethnicity and Culture in Body Image and Disordered Eating Among Males

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Body image, Ethnicity, Culture, Eating disorder, Males

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An increasing number of researchers have examined body image concerns, disordered eating, and other behaviors associated with increasing muscle size among men from different cultural groups. However, to date there has been no synthesis or evaluation of these studies. In this paper we specifically review studies which have included a comparison between males from different cultural groups with White males on body image concerns or other related behaviors. The groups include Blacks, Hispanic Americans, Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and men from Middle Eastern countries. Overall, evidence suggests that males from a range of cultural groups engage in more extreme body change strategies and binge eating than Whites. On the other hand, there is no consistent pattern which summarizes the nature of body image concerns across the different cultures. Mediating and/or moderating variables are proposed to account for the inconsistent findings. These include body build, levels of acculturation, socio-economic status, media exposure, and internalization of the muscular and lean body ideal.

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Clinical Psychology Review, v. 27, issue 5, p. 582-606