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Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 623–638 | Cite as

Belief and Behavior Aspects of the EAT-26: The Case of Schoolgirls in Belize

  • Eileen P. Anderson-FyeEmail author
  • Jielu Lin
Instrumentality

Abstract

This study investigates components of eating attitudes in a sample of Belizean schoolgirls and argues for separate analysis of eating beliefs and eating behaviors using the EAT-26 in populations undergoing rapid cultural change. The EAT-26 was utilized in a novel manner, preserving the ethnographic and empirical distinction between belief and behavior components of eating attitudes. Participants included a sample of secondary schoolgirls (n = 80) undergoing acculturative stress. Participants reported more disordered eating beliefs than behaviors. Respondents having higher belief scores than behavior scores were more likely to prefer thinner body build and to be concerned about boys’ assessments of their bodies. Girls with higher behavior scores were less likely to report eating when hungry and stopping when full. In conclusion, discriminant validity was found between attitudinal and behavioral aspects of the EAT-26 as evidenced by face validity and patterns in predicting body image preference and desired weight change. Such a distinction has implications for assessing risk for disordered eating among populations undergoing acculturative stress. Among such populations, while behavioral symptoms might be absent or present in subclinical levels, disordered beliefs associated with psychological distress or potential precursors to eating-disordered behavior might be detected and should be investigated further.

Keywords

Eating Attitudes Test 26-item version Belief Behavior Belizean schoolgirls 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Anne Becker, Jill Korbin, Lawrence Greksa, Rebecca Lester, John Willett and an anonymous reviewer for comments on early versions of this paper. We also thank Kristi Ninneman for help with manuscript preparation.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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