Disordered eating behaviors are prevalent in Mexican-American college-enrolled women and contribute to compromised physical and psychological health. Although disordered eating behaviors are multi-determined, few studies have examined individual difference factors that contribute to disordered eating behaviors in Mexican women beyond acculturation. Evidence suggests that individual differences in the constellation of identities may be an important factor influencing the disordered eating behaviors. We hypothesized that individual differences in the collection of identities (self-schemas)increases susceptibility to defining oneself as fat (fat self-schema)and contribute to disordered eating behaviors over time in Mexican American college women. A 12-month longitudinal design was used to measure the level of disordered eating behaviors at 5 points over 12 months in 477 Mexican American women. Identity properties (i.e., positive self-schemas, negative self-schemas, fat self-schema)were measured at baseline. Controlling for relevant covariates, latent growth curve models showed that Mexican American women with few positive and many negative self-schemas were more likely to define themselves as fat, which in turn, predicted purging and fasting/restricting behaviors across the year. However, identity properties were not predictive of binge eating and excessive exercise episodes. Interventions focused on development of positive self-schemas that reflect areas of interest and competence and the revision of negative self-schemas may protect against purging and fasting/restricting in Mexican American college-enrolled women.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes