The Present Research Explores Anorexic Attitudes Among Puerto Rican College Students and their Relationship to Perfectionism, Depression, Self-Esteem, Body Satisfaction
Johanina McCormick, Division of Social Sciences, College of Professional Studies
Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental disorder that is characterized by a marked voluntary reduction in food intake that leads to emaciation. Research reports that 15% to 20% of persons with anorexia die of complications related to emaciation. Until recent decades there was a common believe that anorexia targeted mainly upper class Anglo- Saxon woman attracted to the occidental culture of thinness. Because of media dissemination this disorder has expanded beyond frontiers and cultures. The present study evaluated the presence of behaviors and attitudes associated with anorexia nervosa and its relationship to perfectionism, depressive symptoms, body satisfaction and self esteem among student from the University of Puerto Rico. A sample of 271 Hispanic students where assessed using the Eating Attitude Test-26 (EAT-26), Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS), Self Esteem Index and a group of questions regarding body satisfaction. It was found that 12.5% (n=30) of the sample evidenced anorexic attitudes and behaviors. Also found was a positive and significant correlation of anorexic attitudes with perfectionism and depression, but not with self esteem. Nonetheless, of the participants with anorexic attitudes 41% (n=12) reported self esteem problems and 3% (n=1) severe self esteem problems, highlighting self esteem as a relevant variable. From the total sample 48.8% n=111 reported self esteem problems, which could have lowered the strength of the correlation between self esteem and anorexic attitudes. The female participants with anorexic attitude reported body satisfaction and a low body weight, but revealed a desire to continue losing weight even further. It seems that in the present sample of Hispanic college woman drive for thinness has a mayor role in anorectic attitudes than that of body dissatisfaction.