logo logo European Journal of Psychology and Educational Research

EJPER is is a, peer reviewed, online academic research journal.

Subscribe to

Receive Email Alerts

for special events, calls for papers, and professional development opportunities.


Publisher (HQ)

Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Christiaan Huygensstraat 44, Zipcode:7533XB, Enschede, THE NETHERLANDS
Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Christiaan Huygensstraat 44, Zipcode:7533XB, Enschede, THE NETHERLANDS
eating disorders depression african university students asian university students

Cross-cultural Examination of Differences Regarding Eating Attitudes and Depression of International University Students

Sultan Okumusoglu

Globally increasing prevalence of eating disorders emphasizes the existence of eating psychopathologies across cultures. Investigating eating disorder.


Globally increasing prevalence of eating disorders emphasizes the existence of eating psychopathologies across cultures. Investigating eating disorders and depression among emerging adults across ethnic/racial diversity is important regarding theory and interventions. Hence, examination of differences regarding eating attitudes and depression of international university students from Africa and Asia continents was aimed. “Eating Attitudes Test-26” (EAT-26) and “The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-Revised” (CESD-R) were used for data collection. Participants are 108 (84 Africans, 24 Asians) university students. Asian students’ and females’ EAT-26 scores were determined as higher.  Regarding depression scores, %14,81 of the all participants (%8,3 of the African and %37,5 of the Asian students) were found above the pathological cut point. But no differences were detected between groups except ‘suicide ideas’. Disordered eating attitudes correlated positively with depressive tendencies and also with ‘sadness’, ‘tiredness’ and ‘suicide ideas’ besides compensating behaviors like ‘laxative diuretic usage’. Results demonstrated some practical and theoretical implications. As well as being consistent with cross-cultural findings regarding eating disorders, results seems consistent with the criteria and the related literature revealing co-existing symptoms of eating disorders, comorbidity between eating disorders and depression and also with Cognitive Theory.

Keywords: Eating disorders, depression, African university students, Asian university students.

cloud_download PDF
Article Metrics


Alvarenga, M.S., Scagliusi, F. B.  & Philippi, S.T. (2008). Changing attitudes, beliefs and feelings towards food in bulimic patients. Archives Latinoam Nutrition, 58(3),274-279.

Assari, S. & DeFreitas, M.R. (2018). Ethnic Variations in Psychosocial and Health Correlates of Eating Disorders. Healthcare, 6, 38-48.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Beck, A.T. (1967). Depression:  Clinical, experimental and theoritical aspects. New York: Harper and Row.

Beck, A. T., Emery, G. & Greenberg, R. L. (1985).  Anxiety Disorders and Phobias:  A Cognitive Perspective. New York: Basic Books.

Benton, C., and Karazsia, B. T. (2015). The effect of thin and muscular images on women’s body satisfaction. Body Image, 13, 22–27.

Brown, T.A., Holland, L.A., & Keel, P.K. (2014) Comparing operational definitions of DSM-5 anorexia nervosa for research contexts. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47(1), 76-84.

Crow, S.J., Peterson, C.B., Swanson, S.A., Raymond, N. C., Specker, S., Ecker, E. D., & Mitchell, J.E. (2009). Increased mortality in bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders.   American Journal of Psychiatry, 166,1342-1346.

Celik, S., Yoldascan, E.B., Okyay, R.A. & Ozenli, Y. (2016). Kadin universite ogrencilerinde yeme bozuklugunun yayginligi ve etkileyen etkenler. Anadolu Psikiyatri Dergisi, 17(1), 42-50.

De Franca, G.V., Gigante, D.P., & Olinto, M.T. (2014). Binge eating in adults: Prevalence and association with obesity, poor self-rated health status and body dissatisfaction. Public Health & Nutrition, 17, 932-938.

Dozois, D.J.A., & Beck, A.T. (2008). Cognitive schemas, beliefs and assumptions. In Risk Factors in Depression, ed. KS Dobson, DJA Dozois, pp. 121–143. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Eaton, W.   W., Muntaner, C., Smith, C., Tien, A.    &   Ybarra, M. (2004).   Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: Review and revision (CESD and CESD-R). In M.E., Maruish (ed). The Use of Psychological Testing for Treatment Planning and Outcomes Assessment.3rd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Yates, A., Edman, J., & Aruguete, M. (2004). Ethnic differences in BMI and body/self-dissatisfaction among whites, Asian subgroups, Pacific islanders, and African-Americans. Journal of Adolescent Health, 34, 300-307.

Franko, D.L., Becker, A.E., Thomas, J.J., & Herzog, D.B. (2007). Cross-ethnic differences in eating disorder symptoms and related distress. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 40, 156-164.

Garner, D.M. & Garfinkel, P.E. (1979). The Eating Attitude Test: An index of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Psychological Medicine, 9(2), 273-279.

Gordon, K.H., Perez, M. & Joiner, T.E. (2002). The impact of racial stereotypes on eating disorder recognition. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 32, 219-224.

Hudson, J.I., Hiripi, E., Pope, H.G. Jr, & Kessler, R.C. (2007). The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61, 348-358.

Jarry, J.L. (1998).  The meaning of body image for women with eating disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 43,367-374.

Kessler, R. C., & Bromet, E. J. (2013). The epidemiology of depression across cultures. Annual Reviews of Public Health, 34, 119-138.

Kuijer, R.G. & Boyce, J.A. (2014). Chocolate cake. Guilt or celebration? Associations with healthy eating attitudes, perceived behavioural control, intentions and weight loss. Appetite, 74(1), 48-54.

Koknel, O. (1981). Cumhuriyet Gencligi ve Sorunlari. 2nd ed., Istanbul: Cem Yayinevi.

Lester, R.J. (2007). Critical therapeutics: Cultural politics and clinical reality in two eating disorder treatment centers. Medical Anthropology, 21, 369-387.

McCourt, J. & Waller, G. (1995).  Developmental role of perceived parental control in the eating psychopathology of Asian and Caucasian school girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 17, 277-282.

McDermott, B.M. & Jaffa, T. (2005). Eating disorders in children and adolescents: An update. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18, 407-410.

Mumford, D.B. & Whitehouse, A. M. (1988). Increased prevalence of bulimia nervosa among Asian schoolgirls. British Medical Journal, 297, 718-718.

Murphy, J.M. (2002). Symptom scales and diagnostic schedules in adult psychiatry. In Tsuang,

Nasser, M., Katzman, M.  A.  & Gordon, R.  A. (2001).  Eating disorders and cultures intransition. New York: Brunner-Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

National Eating Disorders Collaboration [NEDC].  (2016). Eating Disorders in Schools: Prevention, Early Identification and Response (2nd ed.). (Accessed: 30.04.2017). Available at: www.nedc. com.au.

Okumusoglu, S. (2017a).  The role of negative, saboteur, dysfunctional thoughts and attitudes in weight loss success in obesity. International Journal of Humanities and Education, 3(5), 98-119.

Okumusoğlu, S. (2017b). Examination of depressive tendencies via negative automatic thoughts in university students. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science, & Technology Education, 14(1), 205–212. Doi: 10.12973/ejmste/79633.

Okumusoglu, S. & Arkar, H. (2017). Obeziteli bireylerde kilo verme basarisinin depresyon yatkınlıgi ile iliskisinin arastirilmasi. International Journal of Humanities and Education, 3(5), 63-75.

Radloff, L.S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in thegeneral population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385-401.

Reagan, P., & Hersch, J. (2005). Influence of race, gender, and socioeconomic status on binge eating frequency in a population-based sample. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 38, 252-256.

Rieger, E., Touyz, S.W., Swain, T. & Beumont, P.J.V. (2001). Cross-cultural research on anorexia nervosa: Assumptions regarding the role of body weight. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 29, 205-215.

Rodgers, R. F. (2016). The role of the “Healthy Weight” discourse in body image and eating concerns: An extension of sociocultural theory. Eating Behavior, 22, 194–198.

Rubin, B., Gluck, M. E., Knoll, C. M., Lorence, M.  & Geliebter, A.  (2008).  Comparison of eating disorders and body image disturbances between Eastern and Western countries. Eating and Weight Disorders, 13, 73-80.

Ruiz, S.Y., Pepper, A. & Wilfley,D. (2004). Obesity and body image among ethnically diverse children and adolescents. In J. K. Thompson (Ed.). Handbook of eating disorders and obesity. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Striegel-Moore, R.H., Wilfley, D.E., Pike, K.M., Dohm, F. & Fairburn, C.G. (2000). Recurrent binge eating in Black American women. Archives of Family Medicine, 9, 83-87.

Striegel-Moore, R.H., Dohm, F.A., Kraemer, H.C., Taylor, C.B., Daniels, S., Crawford, P.B., et al. (2003). Eating disorders in White and Black women. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 1326-1331.

Sullivan, P. (1995).  Mortality in anorexia nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152(7), 1073-1074.

Sysko, R., Ojserkis, R., Schebendach, J., Evans, S. M., Hildebrandt, T., & Walsh, B. T. (2017). Appetite;  112 , 1-8.

Talleyrand, R.M. (2010).  Eating disorders in African American girls:  Implications for counselors. Journal of Counseling and Development, 88, 319-324.

Taylor, J.Y., Caldwell, C. H., Baser, R. E., Faison, N.  & Jackson, J.S. (2007). Prevalence of eating disorders among Blacks in the National Survey of American Life. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 40,10-14. doi:10.1002/eat.20451.

Tsai, C., Hoer, S.L. & Song, W.O. (1998). Dieting behavior of Asian college women attending a US university. Journal of American College Health, 46, 163-168.

Tsai, G., Curbow, B. & Heinberg, L. (2003). Sociocultural and developmental influences on body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes and behaviors of Asian women. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 191, 309-318.

Tsuang, M.T., Tohen, M., Zahner, G.E. (1995). Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology. New York: Wiley-Liss.

Weiss, M. G. (1995). Eating disorders and disordered eating in different cultures.  The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 18, 537-553.

World Health Organization [WHO]. (2013). Depression. Retrieved on 4 th September 2017 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/.

Wildes, J.E., Emergy, R.E. & Simons, A.D. (2001). The roles of ethnicity and culture in the development of eating disturbance and body dissatisfaction: A metaanalytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 24, 521-551.

Williamson, D. A., Muller, S. L., Reas, D. L. & Thaw, J.M. (1999). Cognitive bias in eating disorders: Implications for theory and treatment. Behavior Modification, 23, 556-577.