Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

What triggers bulimia in Latinas and other women of color?


Acculturation, which is best defined as the merging or the joining of one ethnicity with

another on a social level, is perceived as the main culprit for bulimia among Latinas

and other women of color. (3) (7) Other reported causes include: strict households,

socioeconomic status*, a lack of socialization (bonding) among peers, immigration

status, as well as an overall obsession with personal appearances most likely due to

outside, cultural influences. (3) Other studies claim bulimia is the result of a depressive

disorder or the replacing of hunger with the lack of love and attention one fails to

receive as a child from parents while growing up. (5) Perfectionist behaviors and

stressful events have also been known to promote the disorder within certain

individuals who are prone to the disease.(6) However, the influences of the media,

referred to as the ¡°toxic American culture¡± by one article, has been known to play a

major role in promoting overall mental disorders, which includes disturbed eating,

among women.(1) Above all, the most common trait existing among victims of eating

disorders is the apparent existence of low self esteem.(8)


* Based on some studies, socioeconomic status apparently has no real influence in promoting eating disorders among women.


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This site was created by Cecilia Ortiz in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2004.