Eating disorder symptomatology among black female teenagers in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal: a cross-sectional study.
Munyai, Neani Patrick.
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The purpose of this study was to explore the prevalence of eating disorder symptomatology and statistical relationship between eating disorder pathology and body image among Black female teenagers in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal. Furthermore, the influence of body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic status were explored. A literature review of eating pathology was conducted and the content thereof was compared to the study hypotheses. Different theories (the vulnerability model, social comparison theory, cognitive behavioural theory and bioecological theory of human development) were adopted to examine multiple potential vulnerabilities and maintenance of eating disorders amongst Black female teenagers in rural areas. Research in this field has revealed that acculturation to a Western value system and body image ideals appear to affect the prevalence of eating disorders among Black women. There is a paucity of South African research on cross-cultural attitudes and behaviours associated with eating disorders among Black teenagers in rural areas. The sample comprised 184 Zulu female public high school learners in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal between the ages of 13 and 19 years. Data were collected with a demographic questionnaire and the Eating Disorder Inventory. The results showed a possible link between dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs and eating disorders. No correlation was found between socioeconomic status and eating disorders. Most of the participants (52.2%) were classified in the normal weight category (BMI), whereas the remaining participants were classified in the obese class III and underweight, which may suggest that some of the participants may have displayed patterns associated with eating disorders. The results are discussed in relation to the literature, recommendations for future research based on the limitations of this study, are made.