Eating disorders, body image, and dichotomous thinking among Japanese and Russian college women


This study explored cross-cultural differences between Japan and Russia in terms of women’s body images, proneness to eating disorders, and the effects of dichotomous thinking. Participants included 419 Japanese and 187 Russian college women who completed the Dichotomous Thinking Inventory (DTI), the 26-item version of the Eating Attitudes Test, and responses regarding nine figures representing female body shapes. The mean age of the participants was 19.8 years, with no significant age differences between the countries. The results showed that Japanese women have leaner ideal body images than Russian women, whereas there were no cross-cultural differences in the participants’ real body images. DTI scores among Russian participants were higher than DTI scores among Japanese participants, which indicated that Russian women think more dichotomously than Japanese. Structural equation modeling indicated a significantly negative effect of dichotomous thinking only on real body image in Russia; the ideal body image had greater effects on eating disorder in Russia than in Japan.

Share and Cite:

Oshio, A. and Meshkova, T. (2012) Eating disorders, body image, and dichotomous thinking among Japanese and Russian college women. Health, 4, 392-399. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.47062.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Wildes, J.E., Emery, R.E. and Simons, A.D. (2001) The roles of ethnicity and culture in the development of eating disturbance and body dissatisfaction: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 21, 521-551. doi:10.1016/S0272-7358(99)00071-9
[2] Podar, I. and Allik, J. (2009) A cross-cultural comparison of the eating disorder inventory. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 42, 346-355. doi:10.1002/eat.20616
[3] Garner, D.M. (1991). Eating disorder inventory-2: Professional manual. Psychological Assessment Resources, Odessa.
[4] Williamson, D.A., White, M.A., York-Crowe, E. and Stewart, T.M. (2004) Cognitive-behavioral theories of eating disorders. Behavior Modification, 28, 711-738. doi:10.1177/0145445503259853
[5] Waller, G. and Sheffield, A. (2008) Causes of bulimic disorders. Psychiatry, 7, 152-155. doi:10.1016/j.mppsy.2008.02.002
[6] Ono, K. and Shimada, H. (2005) The influential factors on eating disorders among female high-school students. Japanese Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 45, 511-520.
[7] Byrne, S.M., Allen, K.L., Dove, E.R., Watt, F.J. and Nathan, P.R. (2008) The reliability and validity of the dichotomous thinking in eating disorders scale. Eating Behaviors, 9, 154-162. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2007.07.002
[8] Byrne, S.M., Cooper, Z. and Fairburn, C.G. (2004) Psychological predictors of weight regain in obesity. Behavior Research and Therapy, 42, 1341-1356. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2003.09.004
[9] Lethbridge, J., Watson, H.J., Egan, S.J., Street, H. and Nathan, P.R. (2011) The role of perfectionism, dichotomous thinking, shape and weight overvaluation, and conditional goal setting in eating disorders. Eating Behaviors, 12, 200- 206. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2011.04.003
[10] Oshio, A. (2009) Development and validation of the dichotomous thinking inventory. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 37, 729-742.
[11] Slade, P.D. (1985) A review of body image studies in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 19, 255-265. doi:10.1016/0022-3956(85)90026-3
[12] Perez, M. and Joiner Jr., T. (2003) Body image dissatisfaction and distorted eating in black and white women. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 33, 342-350. doi:10.1002/eat.10148
[13] Nakai, Y., Imai, H., Kashitani, H. and Yoshikawa, M. (2001) Pathogenesis of body image disturbance in eating disorders. Japanese Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 41, 281-286.
[14] Lopez-Guimera, G., Levine, M.P., Sancez-Carracedo, D. and Fauquet, J. (2010) Influence of mass media on body image and eating disordered attitudes and behaviors in females: A review of effects and processes. Media Psychology, 13, 387-416. doi:10.1080/15213269.2010.525737
[15] Woerwag-Mehta, S. and Treasure, J. (2008) Causes of anorexia nervosa. Psychiatry, 7, 147-151. doi:10.1016/j.mppsy.2008.02.010
[16] Takeuchi, S., Hayano, J., Hori, R., Mukai, S. and Fujinami, T. (1993) Body image in Japanese junior-high- school students: Impact of slender images mediated by mass communication. Japanese Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 33, 691-695.
[17] Jakatdar, T.A., Cash, T.F. and Engle, E.K. (2006) Body- image thought processes: The development and initial validation of the Assessment of Body-Image Cognitive Distortions. Body Image: An International Journal of Research, 3, 325-333.
[18] Stunkard, A.J., Sorensen, T. and Schulsinger, F. (1983) Use of the Danish adoption register for the study of obesity and thinness. In: Kety, S. Ed., The genetics of neurologycal and psychiatric disorders, Raven Press, New York, 115-120.
[19] Lamb, C.S., Jackson, L.A., Cassiday, P.B. and Priest, D.J. (1993) Body figure preferences of men and women: A comparison of two generations. Sex Roles, 28, 345-358. doi:10.1007/BF00289890
[20] Pine, K.J. (2001) Children’s perceptions of body shape: A thinness bias in pre-adolescent girls and associations with femininity. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 6, 519-536. doi:10.1177/1359104501006004006
[21] Bays, H.E., Bazata, D.D., Fox, K.M., Grandy, S. and SHIELD Study Group (2009) Perceived body image in men and women with type 2 diabetes mellitus: Correlation of body mass index with the figure rating scale. Nutrition Journal, 8, 57. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-8-57
[22] Altabe, M. (1998) Ethnicity and body image: Quantitative and qualitative analysis. International Journal of Eating Disorder, 23, 153-159. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199803)23:2<153::AID-EAT5>3.0.CO;2-J
[23] Gordon, K.H., Castro, Y., Sitnikov, L. and Holm-Denoma, J.M. (2010) Cultural body shape ideals and eating disorder symptoms among white, Latina, and black college women. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16, 135-143. doi:10.1037/a0018671
[24] McElhone, S., Kearney, J.M., Giachetti, I., Zunft, H.F. and Martínez, J. F. (1999) Body image perception in relation to recent weight changes and strategies for weight loss in a nationally representative sample in the European Union. Public Health Nutrition, 2, 143-151. doi:10.1017/S1368980099000191
[25] Garner, D.M., Olmsted, M.P., Bohr, Y. and Garfinkel, P.E. (1982) The Eating Attitudes Test: Psychometric features and clinical correlates. Psychological Medicine, 12, 871-878. doi:10.1017/S0033291700049163
[26] Mukai, T., Crago, M. and Shisslak, C.M. (1994) Eating attitudes and weight preoccupation among female high school students in Japan. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 677-688. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1994.tb01213.x
[27] Meshkova, T.A. (2011) Development of a Russian version of Eating Attitudes Test. Unpublished manuscript.
[28] Kayano, M., Yoshiuchi, K., Al-Adawi, S., Viernes, N., Dorvlo, A.S.S., Kumano, H., Kuboki, T. and Akabayashi, A. (2008) Eating attitudes and body dissatisfaction in ado-lescents: Cross-cultural study. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 62, 17-25. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1819.2007.01772.x
[29] Oshio, A. (2010) Characteristics of the dichotomous thinking inventory Japanese version: Review of scale development process and relations with aspects of everyday life. Journal of the College of Humanities (Chubu University), 23, 45-57.
[30] Oshio, A. (2012) Relationship between dichotomous thinking and music preferences among Japanese undergraduates. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 40, 567-574. doi:10.2224/sbp.2012.40.4.567
[31] Hofstede, G. (1984) Cultural dimensions in management and planning. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 1, 81- 99. doi:10.1007/BF01733682
[32] Matsumoto, D., Weissman, M.D., Preston, K., Brown, B.R. and Kupperbush, C. (1997) Context-specific measurement of individualism-collectivism on the individual level: The individualism-collectivism interpersonal assessment inventory. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 28, 743-767. doi:10.1177/0022022197286006
[33] Matsumoto, D., Takeuchi, S., Andayani, S., Kouznetsova, N., and Krupp, D. (1998) The contribution of individualism vs. collectivism to cross-national differences in display rules. Asian Journal of Psychology, 1, 147-165. doi:10.1111/1467-839X.00010
[34] Morrison, C.D. (2010) Collectivism/individualism. In: Jackson, R.L. Ed., Encyclopedia of identity, Sage Publications, London, 100-103.
[35] Uspenskaya, V.I. and Borodin, D.Y. (2004) Family relations in 20th century Russia as a projection of popular beliefs, scholarly disclosure, and state policies. Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, 5, 237-248.
[36] Levada, Y. (2003) Some results of the public opinion poll conducted by WCIOM (10.10-14.10.2003). Moskovskii Komsomolets, 6.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.