Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Acculturative Stress and Binge Eating in African-American Women: Where Do They Go from Here?

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Acculturative Stress and Binge Eating in African-American Women: Where Do They Go from Here?

Article excerpt

Introduction

inge eating (BE) behaviors, characterized by eating large amounts of food coupled with feelings of having a lack of control over this pattern (DSM V), along with a propensity for obesity (i.e., a BMI 30 or higher for adults), are prevalent health concerns among African-American women (Talleyrand, Gordon, Daquin, & Johnson, 2017; Udo et al., 2016; Webb & Hardin, 2012). In some cases, in which BE behaviors may lead to obesity, the prevalence of African-American women having the highest rates of obesity (56.6%) when compared to White women (32.8%) and all other ethnic groups (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2014) are important factors in the study of BE behaviors and African-American women. Notwithstanding their propensity for higher body mass, African-American women notably exhibit greater satisfaction with their bodies in comparison to White women (Chithambo & Huey, 2013; Flynn & Fitzgibbon, 1998). Despite greater body acceptance, researchers recognize that African-American women may have unique cultural stressors that increase their likelihood of adopting adverse eating behaviors such as BE (Kumanyika, Obarzanek, Stevens, Hebert, & Whelton, 1991; Diggins, Woods-Giscombe, & Waters, 2015). Although these researchers did not examine the cultural stressor-acculturative stress (i.e., pressure to adapt or adopt the dominant culture's values and beliefs along with difficulties that manifest while adjusting to a different culture) among African-American women who binge eat, research conducted with the parents of African-American and Hispanic children indicates a relationship between these two variables is plausible (Watt, Martinez-Ramos, & Majumdar, 2012). Chithambo and Huey (2013) suggested one theoretical pathway that conjoins the relationship between BE and cultural stressors among African-American women; that is African-American women's culturally supported weight tolerance and a cultural rejection of the White culture's ideal body weight or type known as the "buffering hypothesis" (Grabe & Hyde, 2006; Sabik, Cole, & Ward, 2010). The buffering hypothesis proposes African-American women have decreased weight consciousness, increased acceptance, and suppressed weight reduction goals as a protective mechanism against the White culture's standard of beauty (Chithambo & Huey, 2013). Unfortunately, these misconceptions or misinter-pretations of body size or distortions of body image based on cultural norms may have dire health consequences and hinder weight loss efforts among African-American women (Baruth, Sharpe, Magwood, Wilcox, & Schlaff, 2015). Furthermore, these same cultural beliefs may diminish African-American women's perception of the health risks related to BE behaviors (Baruth et al., 2015). Despite these facts, very little research explores how contextual stressors such as acculturative stress influence BE behaviors in African-American women. Most investigations of contextual stressors and BE behaviors in African-American women have been conducted with college-aged African-American women, and little is known about this relationship among older African-American women (Flynn & Fitzgibbon, 1998). Moreover, the relationship of the contextual stressor- acculturative stress-and BE is underexplored in this cohort (Claudat, White, & Warren, 2016).

Current research on acculturative stress primarily targets immigrant or migrant populations (Bekteshi, Van Hook, & Matthew, 2015; Wong, Correa, Robinson, & Lu, 2016). Other research attempting to ascertain if a relationship exists between acculturative stress and eating behaviors has been conducted with other ethnic groups, such as Asians and Latinos (Ayala, Baquero, & Klinger, 2008; Claudat et al., 2016). However, few studies focus on African-American women (Van Diest, Tartakovsky, Stachoń, Pettit, & Perez, 2014; Williams, 2006).

Binge eating disorder (BED) contributes aptly to the obesity epidemic affecting 3. …

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