Can cognitive dissonance methods developed in the West for combatting the 'thin ideal' help slow the rapidly increasing prevalence of eating disorders in non-Western cultures?
journal contributionposted on 15.10.2015, 10:18 authored by Gemma WitcombGemma Witcomb, Jon Arcelus, Jue Chen
Summary: Eating disorders are common, life-threatening conditions in Western countries, but until relatively recently they were regarded as uncommon in non-Western cultures. However, the prevalence of eating disorders in many of the more affluent non-Western countries is rising rapidly as community members, particularly young women, internalize the 'thin ideal' that has been widely promoted by the international media. This review discusses the factors involved in the development of eating disorders in non-Western settings with a particular emphasis on the influences of urbanization, modernization, Westernization, and the resulting changes in women's roles. The cognitive dissonance programs developed in Western countries that have proven successful in countering the negative effects of the thin idea are described and their potential application to East Asia and other non-Western countries are discussed.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences