Fear of fatness, eating attitudes, and anti-fat perspectives: a cross-cultural exploration of Euro-American and Indian university students



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Texas A&M University


Although recent data suggest the existence of anti-fat attitudes, fear of fatness, and maladaptive eating attitudes among Indian women, few researchers have examined the cross-cultural validity of their instruments before assessing Indian samples. The present study assessed the measurement equivalence of three related measures, the Anti-Fat Attitudes Scale, the Goldfarb Fear of Fat Scale, and the Eating Attitudes Test-26, and tested the invariance of latent means among Indian (n = 226) and Euro-American (n = 211) female college students. Multi-group confirmatory factor analyses using maximum likelihood estimation with robust standard errors demonstrated reasonable measurement equivalence of the instruments across Indian and Euro-American groups. Confidence interval comparisons of latent means suggested that the Indians and Euro-Americans did not differ significantly in levels of fear of fatness or eating attitudes, but there were some group differences in anti-fat attitudes. Structural equation modeling suggested that fear of fatness and anti-fat attitudes predict about 66% of the variance in Indian eating attitudes; however, these results must be interpreted cautiously due to a poorly fitting measurement model. Results of multiple regression analyses suggested that the eating attitudes of the Indian respondents were not significantly predicted by theirsocioeconomic status or degree of Westernization. In conclusion, these data suggest that there are some similarities, but also some important differences, in the eating-related attitudes and behaviors of Euro-American and Indian women.