Eating attitudes, behaviors, and body image of Orthodox Jewish girls in grades 3--8
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This study focused on disturbed eating attitudes and behaviors in a sample of pre-adolescent Orthodox Jewish girls, an age group and population that is only beginning to gain attention. This cross sectional, correlational survey study used a convenience (nonrandom) sample to examine the relationships between parental attitudes about weight and shape, peer influences (teasing and weight concerns), body esteem (self-evaluation of general physical appearance and others' evaluations about one's body and appearance), self-esteem (the attitude that an individual has toward herself), media influence, and disturbed eating attitudes and behaviors in a convenience sample of 205 Orthodox Jewish girls in grades 3-8 attending 6 (4 coeducational, 2 girls-only) yeshiva day schools in the New York area. Two hundred five out of 633 eligible students completed usable surveys, for a return rate of 32.38%. Findings of regression analyses were that high levels of total disordered eating behavior are associated with high levels of media and parent influence and low levels of body esteem. No relationships were found between total disordered eating behavior and peer influence or self-esteem. In addition, body image dissatisfaction/restrictive eating behavior was predicted by high levels of media influence and low body esteem levels, but not by self-esteem or parent or peer influence. Further, binge-eating was predicted by high levels of peer influence and low levels of body esteem, but not by self-esteem or media or parent influence. Results of secondary analyses showed that body esteem mediated the relationship of perceived parent influence, perceived peer influences, and self-esteem with disordered eating behaviors.