Alexandria Digital Research Library

Eating disorders and body image on college campuses: Counselors' experiences with diverse student populations

Phillips, Jessica Marie
Degree Supervisor:
Carol N. Dixon and Yukari Okamoto
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Health Sciences, Mental Health and Education, General
Student Athletes
Minority Students
Male Students
Body Image
Eating Disorders
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013

It is estimated 25 million Americans suffer from one or more eating illnesses (Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness, 2013) with 43% experiencing the onset of such disorders between 16 and 20.6 years of age (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 2013). This places a considerable number of young adults at risk for these health issues during their college studies. Traditionally, eating disorder and body image research has largely focused on Caucasian females of middle to high socioeconomic status. Eating and body issues, however, affect students from a diversity of sociocultural backgrounds, with students often experiencing a very dissimilar set of social pressures.

The latter is critical to recognize, for if counseling approaches that have successfully treated white, middle class, females become extended to working with all students who have eating disorders or body image issues, these generalizations may cause some populations of college students - such as males, athletes, and students of color - to have their health needs inadequately addressed. This study interviewed 22 counselors at colleges and universities around the United States about their experiences working with students on eating disorders and body image issues, particularly male students, student athletes, and racial/ethnic minority students. Grounded theory was used as an inductive methodology for collecting data, and then incorporating that data into open, axial, and selective coding processes. Findings from this study highlight the importance of culturally-sensitive approaches when working on eating disorders and body image illnesses with diverse student populations.

This study aims to broaden awareness of specific eating and body stressors posed to male students, student athletes, and racial/ethnic minority students, and to invoke discussions about how college and university campuses may effectively incorporate students' sociocultural identities into mental health treatments.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (212 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Jessica Phillips
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