Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 3 Issue 3 (August 1993), Pages fmi-fmi, 173-234

Culture and body image: Body perception and weight concern in young Asian and Caucasian British women (pages 173-181)


The comparatively lower prevalence of eating disorders among Asian and Afro‐Caribbean than Caucasian women in the UK has often been attributed to cultural differences in pressures for slimness. However, there have been no attempts to evaluate cultural differences in ideals for female physique directly among women in the at risk age groups. In the present study, cultural influences on body image were evaluated by comparing the body size ideals, body image and dieting concerns in a sample of 274 young white and Asian British women. The results indicate that Asian women are less likely to describe themselves as too fat, were less dissatisfied with their body size, less likely to want to lose weight and less restrained. However, Asian women were slimmer than white women and, after controlling for the difference in body size, the effects were reduced. The hypothesis that any body satisfaction differences could be explained by differences in ideal body size between the two groups were not supported; Asian women favoured even slimmer ideal body sizes than white women. Alternative explanations in terms of cultural differences in evaluation of fatness are discussed.

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