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Alternative Title

Ethnicity, culture, perfectionism, and ed symptoms

Publication Date


First Advisor

Caitlin B. Shepherd

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Eating disorder symptoms, Perfectionism, Self-construal, Asian American college women


While findings are mixed, prior studies suggest that eating disorder (ED) symptoms, perfectionism, and the relationship between these two variables may differ between Asian and European American college women. Although some studies indicate that acculturation may account for these variations, relatively less attention has been paid to the role of cultural variables. The present study sought to examine whether the relationship between different dimensions of perfectionism (i.e., self-oriented and socially prescribed) and ED symptoms is influenced by self-construal (i.e., independent and interdependent) in Asian and European American college women. A sample of 146 college women (Asian: 45.9%, European: 54.1%) recruited at a women’s college in Northeast completed a series of questionnaires related to ED symptoms, perfectionism, and self-construal. Results did not identify significant ethnic differences in ED symptoms but showed that self-oriented perfectionism was higher in the European American students. Ethnicity was found to moderate the relationship between self-oriented perfectionism and body dissatisfaction whereas socially prescribed perfectionism predicted body dissatisfaction regardless of ethnicity. Although further research is needed, these findings suggest that educating colleges and mental health providers about the different dimensions of perfectionism and how they may or may not relate to body dissatisfaction depending on ethnicity may be beneficial. Based on these findings, assessments and interventions targeting self-oriented perfectionism may be applicable for European American but not Asian American college women who are experiencing body image problems.


2020 Sicong Li. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




44 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pageas 30-40)