Acculturation and Eating Disorders in Western Countries

The Research Question

What is the relationship between acculturation and eating disorders in Western countries?

Study Purpose and Objectives

The goal of this review is to examine the existing opinions on the links which can possibly exist between acculturation and eating disorders. Taking a closer look at the literature which concerns the issue, one can possibly understand the connection between eating disorders and acculturation better, as well as check how well the issue is researched.

  1. It also seeks to track the relation of the cultural and national background and the prevalence of eating disorders on immigrants.
  2. The review also seeks to explore whether the western ideal of beauty affects the immigrants, causing eating disorders, and in case it does, find out in what way it affects the immigrants.
  3. The review is going to list the key findings on the current state of affairs concerning the issue, as well as comment on how well the researches on eating disorders and the acculturation process have been carried out and whether some groundbreaking results have been delivered.
  4. The review is going to point at certain discrepancies in the findings made by different authors, should any occur, and comment on how these discrepancies impact the problem.
  5. The review is also aimed at suggesting the further track of researches and offering certain aspects of the problem to explore.

Rationale of This Review

The rationale of this review is based on the fact that the instances of eating disorders among the people who are undergoing the process of acculturation have increased in number, according to the results of the most recent researches. Hence, it can be considered that, reviewing the works written on the problem over the past few decades, one can possibly come up with sufficient data concerning the relationship between the two issues. Moreover, certain recommendations can be produced and the course for the further research on eating disorders and acculturation will be set. Phase 1: Obtaining References to Articles for Consideration

Databases Used

Ebscohost Database

In this database, forty-five articles concern eating disorders and acculturation. The date for this search was 30/05/ 2012. At the end of summer there was one more additional study relating to the same topic. Identified references were uploaded to a designated folder in RefWorks named after the database searched.

The keywords used: “Acculturation and eating disorders”, “immigrants”, “western culture”

Health Reference Centre database

This database has twenty-five articles related to the issues concerning acculturation and the health problems concerning it.

Keywords: “eating disorders and acculturation”, “immigrants and eating disorders”, “western culture immigrants health”.

Study Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria in Detail

Studies were considered for inclusion in this review if they met the following inclusion criteria at least partially:

  • Published in English in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Date range: 1985- 2012 (starts with Schenker and Bethel’s study and ends with Patil, Hadley and Nahayo’s study).
  • Research methodologies: qualitative and quantitative.
  • Study design: Observational, questionnaires, and experimental designs.
  • Participants: 13 years and above, migrated to western countries in their teenage years. The choice is predetermined by the fact that the metabolic processes that lead to eating disorders are most likely to start appearing at the age of 13, according to researches. The participants must be from Eastern European countries and Latin America. They must have migrated to western countries or countries that uphold western cultural images.
  • Measures (outcome): The literature review is supposed to offer precise data concerning immigrants, their average weight and obesity rates over the past several years. Moreover, the literature review must mention the measures which have or have not been undertaken to reduce the rates of obesity among immigrants in Western countries. The study must also have used research tools such as the Eating Attitude Test, American International Relations Study questionnaire, Eating Disorder Index and Body Weight Dissatisfaction Index. In addition to the evaluations which are going to be carried out in the literature review, the prognoses for the future state of immigrants’ health, namely, the obesity rates, are going to be offered.
  • Intervention and comparators: intervention studies are studies indicating measures on how to stop eating disorders among the immigrant population will be included in the study. Comparators are comparative studies that will be part of the review. Providing a foil for further discussions, these studies will be quite helpful.

Studies excluded from the review if one or more of the following applied:

  • Studies examining participants under the age of 13 (as primary study population) were excluded. Studies examining the immigrant population of participants whose parents were immigrants were also excluded from this review.
  • Study also excluded acculturation studies on western populations, since the case in point focuses on the acculturation of immigrants in the West.
  • If the articles are unpublished manuscripts, dissertations and conference abstracts (grey literature) and case studies. After the screening of the articles in the databases based on the above criteria of inclusion and exclusion, twenty articles remained for review.

Three review articles

Article One

Schenker and Bethel offer information on acculturation in the USA and the complexities that immigrants are to face in ample amounts. Providing a detailed account of all the issues which immigrants face in the country, the authors also make a concise list of the factors which can possibly enhance immigrants’ depression and, therefore, contribute to the development of all sorts of eating disorders.

One of the numerous specifics of the given research is that it offers the data concerning the Latin American immigrants and offers important statistical details. An extremely important paper, Schenker and Bethel’s research contributes to my own paper greatly.

Article 2

Unlike the previous study, which concerned mainly the aspect of acculturation of immigrants in the realm of a foreign land, the given paper provides the information concerning the eating problems and disorders which immigrants can possibly have. In addition, the paper touches upon the causes of the given disorders, allowing us to connect the offered data to the previous study. With the help of the given study, the information from the previous article can be analyzed efficiently and certain conclusions about eating disorders during acculturation can be suggested.

Article 3

Another crucial paper that makes the given research complete, the article written by Patil, Hadley, and Nahayo deals with both the aspect of acculturation and the numerous eating disorders which can be related to the given phenomenon. It is quite impressive that the researchers offer the results on different scales, starting with districts and finally offering the nationwide statistical data. A perfect addition to the previous studies, the given report makes the overview of the existing situation with immigrants’ eating disorders under the conditions of acculturation complete.

Works Cited

Le Grande, Daniel and Katharine L. Loeb. “Early Identification and treatment of eating disorders: Prodrome to Syndrome.” Early Intervention in Psychiatry 1(2007): 27-39. Print.

Patil, Crystal L., Craig Hadley and Perpetue D. Nahayo. “Unpacking Dietary Acculturation Among New Americans: Results from Formative Research with African Refugees.” Journal of Immigrant Minority Health 10.3(2008): n.p.

Schenker, Marc B. and Jeffrey Bethel. “Acculturation and Smoking Patterns.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 29.2 (2005): 143-148. Print.

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