Acculturation, out-group positivity and eating disorders symptoms among Emirati women

Justin Thomas*, Lily O’Hara, Susanne Quadflieg, Sophia Christin Weissgerber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
449 Downloads (Pure)


Western acculturation has been implicated in the development of eating disorders among populations living outside Europe and North America. This study explored the relationship between Western acculturation, in-group/out-group evaluations and eating disorders symptoms among female citizens of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Emirati college women (N = 209) completed an affective priming task, designed to implicitly assess in-group (Emirati) and out-group (American) evaluations. Participants also completed the Westernization Survey, a widely used self-report measure of acculturation, and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26). Across the whole sample, out-group positivity was correlated with higher levels of eating disorder symptoms. Participants classified as at risk for eating disorders showed a clear out-group preference (out-group positivity greater than in-group positivity). Western acculturation was also positively correlated with eating disorder symptoms. Overall, these findings lend further support to the acculturation hypothesis of eating disorders in the context of Emirati college women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number2
Early online date27 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Acculturation
  • Affective prime
  • Arab
  • Eating disorders
  • Identity


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