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date: 14 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The goal of this chapter is to highlight what is known about relations between social class and body image, disordered eating, and eating disorders to identify important directions for future work. An initial section discusses ways in which ethnicity and social class have been confounded in the research literature. We present findings on social class and obesity; overall, the findings in this area suggest that the negative relationship between social class and obesity found in developed countries is weakening as obesity rates climb. The main body of the chapter presents an overview of the research on social class and body image and on social class and eating disordered behavior. Relations between social class and body image are unclear, as the literature in this area is replete with conflicting findings. The links between bulimia and social class are not well understood either, as study findings seem dependent on the type of sample used. More consistent (but not universal) findings suggest that social class is related to disordered eating and anorexic symptoms. The implications for research, training, and practice are noted.

Keywords: social class, body image, eating disorders, obesity

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