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Utilizing Art Therapy in the Exploration of Body Image, Attitudes Toward Food, and Perceptions of Physical Beauty Amongst Women of Different Ethnicities within the United States
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|Title: ||Utilizing Art Therapy in the Exploration of Body Image, Attitudes Toward Food, and Perceptions of Physical Beauty Amongst Women of Different Ethnicities within the United States|
|Authors: ||Keffner, A. Brooke|
|Keywords: ||Art Therapy;Body Image;Food;Perception;Beauty;Women;Ethnicity|
|Issue Date: ||30-Jan-2009|
|Abstract: ||The purpose of this study was to explore potential risk factors for developing eating disorders in ethnically diverse women by exploring the meanings and values attached to body image, physical beauty, and attitudes toward food as experienced by women of different ethnicities. The study utilized the concurrent triangulation mixed methods design. A review of the literature included information on the topics of body image including psychological and socio-cultural aspects, as well as the role of ethnicity, and existing assessments; attitudes toward food including the roles of psychology, socio-cultural factors, family, and ethnicity; perceptions of physical beauty including historical, biological, cultural, and ethnic components; eating disorders including theory, body image, attitudes toward food, perceptions of physical beauty, the role of the family, diagnostic criteria, and treatment options; and art therapy theory including multicultural art therapy, and art therapy with eating disorders and body image related concerns.
Three healthy female participants of different ethnicities signed consent forms and participated in this study. They each identified themselves as one of the following: African American, Asian American, or Caucasian American. They were each asked to respond to a series of self-report questionnaires, followed by the creation of three original drawings, and an open-ended responsive interview in order to capture an in-depth description of their personal experiences of body image, attitudes toward food, and perceptions of physical beauty.
Following the mixed methods analysis, it became apparent that there were a number of differences and discrepancies between the quantitative and qualitative data. When the two data sets were contrasting or seemed to need further clarification, the artwork became an effective mediator between the verbal and questionnaire data sets. This speaks directly to the importance of in-depth qualitative research approaches for use in the assessment of these phenomena, such as art therapy, for body image and other eating disorder related issues.
In response to the research questions, the three participants in this study did seem to have very different experiences of body image, attitudes toward food, and perceptions of physical beauty. Interestingly, this did not seem to be so much connected with their specific ethnicities, however, but more with their families, environment, and personal experiences. Also, some similarities were identified, which may be connected to those experiences that are more universal in regard to the topics being explored.|
|Appears in Collections:||Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations|
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