Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 45 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Drew Anderson

Committee Members

Betty Lin


Black females, body appreciation, eating pathology, ethnic identity, microsystem, peer group, African American women college students, African Americans, Eating disorders in women, Body image in women, Body image disturbance, Food habits

Subject Categories



Objective: A strong ethnic identity has been identified as a protective factor against the development of eating pathology in Black women. Although research consistently supports this finding, little is known about factors that promote ethnic identity in this population and thus decrease risk for eating pathology. Studies have independently examined the influence of peer groups on ethnic identity, ethnic identity on body appreciation, and body appreciation on eating disorder symptoms in Black females; no study has linked all of these factors. The specific aim of the current study was to examine the influence of microsystem factors, such as peer groups, on the development of ethnic identity and eating pathology in Black women. Method: A sample of 141 Black, female undergraduate students (Mage=18.9 years) at a large, Northeastern university participated. The survey included indices such as the percentage of friends with the same racial identity, the Multi-Ethnic Identity Measure, the Body Appreciation Scale, and the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire. Results and Discussion: A path analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between racial identity of peer group, ethnic identity, body appreciation, and eating pathology. Results indicate that percentage of same-race peers influences ethnic identity and protect against eating pathology in Black women. Prevention efforts focusing on peer group influence could decrease the prevalence of eating pathology in Black women.

Included in

Psychology Commons