Body image drawings dissociate ethnic differences and anorexia in adolescent girls

Galit Goldzak-Kunik, Micah Leshem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To distinguish between ethnic differences among segregated schoolgirls and restrictive anorexia nervosa using a simple culture-fair test of body image (BI) figure drawings. Methods: Several responses to BI figure drawings by 178 adolescent schoolgirls from three ethnically distinct and segregated schools and communities in Israel, Jewish secular (JS), Jewish Haredi (H), and Christian Arab (C), and a group of 14 severely restricting anorexic girls (AN). BI evaluations were analyzed by MANCOVA, followed by paired or Student-t tests for comparisons between responses and groups respectively. Pearson r served for correlations and the Fisher Z for differences between slopes. Results: Despite the total ethnic segregation among the schoolgirls, there are commonalities; all prefer a thinner ideal BI, and are similarly dissatisfied with their BI. However, ethnic differences also emerge: C underestimate their BI and how others view them, and H true and Ideal BI evaluations correlate, unlike the other groups. Despite this variability, and in stark contrast, the anorexic girls show a gross misperception of their BI, even in comparison to girls equated for BMI. Discussion: The findings show that figure drawings evaluation of BI is a simple and robust instrument dissociating clinical and ethnic responses. Clinicians may consider body figure drawings as a simple, supportive, diagnostic for first-line recognition for risk of AN in adolescent girls.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 14 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


  • Adolescent girls
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Body image dissatisfaction
  • Body image figure drawings
  • Ethnic differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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