Journal of the Department of Behavioural Sciences
Vol. 2, (1), December 2012
The relation between eating disorders and self esteem in adolescents in Trinidad
Randy Seepersad
This study, conducted in Trinidad, aims to investigate if differences exist in the level of eating disorders with respect to age (younger and older adolescents), gender and ethnicity (Indian and African descent). It also aims to investigate the relationship between eating disorders and self esteem, and to examine the potential utility of self esteem enhancement as a means of reducing eating disorders. Four eating disorder subscales as well as four self esteem subscales were used in the analysis. The sample consisted of 237 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18. The prevalence rates discovered indicate that eating disorders is an important area for concern in Trinidad. Females were much more likely than males to have higher levels of eating disorders, though self esteem was equally strongly negatively correlated with eating disorders for both males and females. Younger adolescents had a higher drive for thinness than older adolescents, while the youngest females had the highest bulimia and body dissatisfaction scores, with youngest males having the lowest. There was a noteworthy tendency for self esteem to be more strongly correlated to eating disorders for older, compared to younger adolescents, pointing to the possibility of a difference in the aetiology of eating disorders for both groups. It was found that familial acceptance was the best self esteem predictor of eating disorders. Multivariate analysis revealed that there were no ethnic differences in eating disorders in the present sample, though a lone univariate difference on one of the eating disorder subscales indicates that this area merits further research.