Eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem among South Korean women

Soyoung Kim1
1Department of Psychology, Columbia University, United States
Cite this article:  Kim, S. (2018). Eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem among South Korean women. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46(9), 1537-1546.

Volume 46 Issue 9 | e6801 | Published: September 2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6801

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Because of Western influences on Asian culture, Asian women value thinness, which has led to a rise in eating disorders among them. The prevalence of eating disorders has increased steadily among Asian women over the past 20 years. Body dissatisfaction, which is an attitude associated with body image involving the disdain of one’s appearance and weight, is more common among women compared to men. Today, Korean women have greater body dissat- isfaction than do U.S. women, a difference that originates prior to adolescence. I examined how the Western mainstream media influences women’s self-image, determining that many women wish to look like celebrities. My findings supported cognitive-behavioral theorists’ proposition that low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction contribute greatly to restrained eating. Rapid social change in South Korea, from Confucian to democratic values, may have exacerbated development of South Korean women’s low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorders.

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