Is thin in everywhere?: A cross-cultural comparison of a subsection of Tripartite Influence Model in Australia and Malaysia
Shagar, P.S., Donovan, C.L., Loxton, N., Boddy, J., & Harris, N.
Abstract: Despite growing research investigating prevalence rates of BD among Malaysian women, there has been limited research conducted in Malaysia with respect to factors contributing to its development and consequences. This study tested a subsection of the Tripartite Influence Model, investigating whether sociocultural influences (family, peers, media) lead to thin ideal internalization, which in turn lead to body dissatisfaction (BD) and subsequently restrained eating and bulimic behaviours in both Australian and Malaysian women. Participants were 421 Australian and 399 Malaysian female emerging adults aged between 18 and 25 years, (M = 20.76; SD = 2.86) who completed questionnaires assessing sociocultural influences, thin ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, restrained eating and bulimic behaviours. The model, largely supported in both cultures, had two points of difference. For Malaysian but not Australian women, family influence was significantly linked with internalization of the thin ideal. Although BD was significantly linked with restrained eating as predicted for Australian women (albeit rather weakly), it was not significantly linked with restrained eating for Malaysian women. The striking similarity of results across both cultures, suggests that Western body ideals, with their corresponding negative sequelae, have infiltrated the collectivist and developing nation of Malaysia.