Implicit out-group preference is associated with eating disorders symptoms amongst Emirati females

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Eating Behaviors


© 2015. Studies exploring the relationship between acculturation and eating disorders symptoms have proven equivocal. Socially desirable responding associated with the use of explicit measures may account for these mixed findings. This study explores the relationship between in-group identity, acculturation and eating disorders symptoms using both implicit and explicit assessments. Emirati female college students (N = 94) completed an affective priming task (APT) designed to implicitly assess Emirati in-group evaluations. Participants also completed explicit measures, including the Westernization Survey and the Multicomponent In-group Identification Scale. Eating disorders symptoms were assessed using the Eating Attitudes Test. Only implicit in-group evaluations were correlated with eating disorders symptoms. Specifically, increases in in-group preference were associated with lower levels of eating disorders symptomatology. Furthermore, participants with an actual out-group preference had significantly higher levels of eating disorders symptomatology compared with those demonstrating an in-group preference.These findings support the acculturative stress hypothesis, and suggest that the relationship between eating disorders and acculturation may be better understood with reference to implicit rather than explicit in-group evaluations.

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