Date of Conferral







Kelly Davis


Little is known about health care professionals' perceptions of eating disorder etiology among African American (AA) women. The purpose of this quantitative research study was to examine the associations among health care professionals' race, cultural awareness, and perceptions of media influence on eating disorder-related factors in AA women. Festigner's social comparison theory; Bandura's social learning theory; and Garcia, Cartwright, Winston, and Borzuchowska's transcultural integrative model served as the theoretical frameworks for this study. Specifically, this study examined whether race and cultural awareness of health care professionals relate to their perceptions of the extent to which media influences AA women's eating disorders, and whether cultural awareness moderates the association between their race and media influences. Data were obtained through a researcher-created demographic questionnaire, the Multicultural Counseling Inventory, and a modified Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Scale-3 with a purposive sample of 49 participants. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Spearman's Rho correlation, Pearson correlation, and a hierarchical multiple linear regression. Compared to their Caucasian American counterparts, AA health care professionals perceived greater media pressure on AA women's body image concerns. Additionally, participants' cultural awareness was positively correlated with their ratings of AA women's desire to have more athletic bodies. The implications for positive social change stemming from this study are directed at health care professionals as additional training may increase their awareness, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of eating disorders among AA women.