Disordered eating among young Jewish American women: exploring religion's role
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There has been little scientific work exploring eating pathology among Jewish women in the United States, even though research has suggested that body image and eating behavior may be especially problematic within this group. Research has also demonstrated the importance of religion in eating pathology, such that extrinsic religiousness may represent a vulnerability mechanism, whereas intrinsic religiousness may act as a protective factor against disordered eating. Thus, the current study examines the association between religion and disordered eating among Christian (n = 145) and Jewish Caucasian (n = 73) women. The role of culture was also explored among Jewish women. All participants completed self-report questionnaires at Time 1 and then six weeks later at Time 2. Jewish and Christian women had comparable levels of disordered eating and body dissatisfaction. Results revealed that neither extrinsic religiousness nor intrinsic religiousness predicted disordered eating among the Jewish group. Hypotheses regarding religious motivation and religious adherence were partially supported among the Christian group. These findings highlight that Allport and Ross’s religion framework may not be appropriate for use with Jewish female samples. Similarly, identifying with Jewish culture did not predict disordered eating. As a whole, these findings emphasize the striking need for more empirical data on what does contribute to a Jewish woman’s vulnerability to eating disorder symptoms.
Tartakovsky, Margarita (2006). Disordered eating among young Jewish American women: exploring religion's role. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from