Research Topic

Beyond Eating and Body Image Disturbances: Cultural, Transcultural and Accultural Perspectives

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About this Research Topic

This Research Topic aims to examine the connection between body image disturbances and eating disorders in different cultural settings. Body image disturbances often lead to body dissatisfaction that may be described as the constellation of negative thoughts and feelings as well as the overall evaluation a ...

This Research Topic aims to examine the connection between body image disturbances and eating disorders in different cultural settings. Body image disturbances often lead to body dissatisfaction that may be described as the constellation of negative thoughts and feelings as well as the overall evaluation a person has about their weight, body shape and/or physical appearance. Body dissatisfaction is both a symptom and a contributing factor in the development, maintenance and relapse of eating disorders. While it is usually described as a Western phenomenon, variants of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction have been noted in other cultures and warrant further examination.

Body image and eating disorder disturbances are often conceptualized as modern, Western-bound disorders fueled by capitalist practices that use popular media to simultaneously advertise unattainable standards of beauty and consumables that sell “beauty and happiness.” This Western-bound theory may also explain the increase in the prevalence of body image disturbances and eating disorders in non-Anglophone (non-Western) countries. Furthermore, unprecedented advances in media and communication, including the internet, have abolished the containment of cultural values and media messages within physical and political borders. In addition, the scientific study of body image and eating disorders, like most other mental health and psychological phenomena, has historically been carried out on Anglophone populations by English-speaking scientists who publish their work in Anglophone professional journals. Thus, it is also plausible to speculate that non-Western insights into the etiologies and manifestations of these disorders have not only been missed and are absent from the literature, but also that body-image and eating-disorder disturbances are differently (and more widely) expressed than it is currently thought.

As part of this collection, we welcome submissions that will help broaden our theoretical and empirical understanding of body image disturbances and eating disorders across different ethnicities, cultures and nationalities. More precisely, we welcome papers addressing any of the following:

(1) Characteristics and mechanisms of eating and body image disturbances in Western and non-Western societies.

(2) Cross cultural research and conceptualizations about the function or mechanistic role of constructs that correlate with body-image disturbances and eating disorders (e.g., body mass composition, family influence, socio-economic status, psychological power, the use of social networks, etc).

(3) Conceptualizations and analyses of the emergence of body image disturbances and eating disorders in non-Western and/or developing countries.

(4) Development or adaptation of assessment tools to examine body-image or eating-disorder associated constructs across different cultures and/or languages.


Keywords: Body image, body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, transcultural, acculturation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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