, Volume 66, Issue 9-10, pp 677-694
Date: 03 Mar 2012

Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating in Three Cultures: Argentina, Brazil, and the U.S.

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Abstract

Body dissatisfaction and associated attitudes were studied in 18–24 years old women from universities in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina (N = 118), João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil (N = 81), and mid-Atlantic U.S. (N = 102). Based on anecdotal reports, theoretical concerns, and empirical studies, we expected greater body dissatisfaction and negative body attitudes in our Argentine and Brazilian samples than in the U.S. sample. Body dissatisfaction was a significant problem in all samples, but we found few differences in levels of body dissatisfaction. The Argentine and Brazilian samples scored lower than the U.S. sample on measures associated with disordered eating, experienced less pressure to be thin, and were less likely to internalize the thin body ideal. Body shame was highest in the Brazilian sample and lowest in the Argentine sample. Cultural features in Argentina and Brazil that may offer some level of protection against the thin body ideal were discussed.