International Journal of Eating Disorders

Stephanie Ng MA, Yining Liu MS, Sarah Gaither PhD, Samuel Marsan MA, Nancy Zucker PhD

December 31, 2020



Accumulating evidence suggests that the prevalence of eating disorders among Chinese women is a public health concern. Prior studies have drawn linkages between conflicting cultural values, identity confusion, and eating disorder symptomatology, which may be relevant for understanding the rise of eating disorders amidst China’s rapid economic and sociocultural transformation. Here, we explore how women’s experiences with traditional eating norms and modernizing norms of femininity may shape their food and body attitudes.


Chinese young adult women (N = 34; aged 18–22?years) participated in semi?structured interviews focusing on experiences with norms surrounding eating and ideal feminine appearance, perceived conflict between these norms, and their responses to perceived conflict. Interviews were conducted via email (n?= 27) or via Skype (n?= 7). Participants were not asked about past or present diagnoses of eating disorders. Analysis of responses was guided by the principles of thematic analysis.

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