Extrinsic Religious Orientation and Disordered Eating Pathology Among Modern Orthodox Israeli Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Adherence to the Superwoman Ideal and Body Dissatisfaction

Sarah L. Weinberger-Litman, Yael Latzer, Leib Litman, Rachel Ozick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The role of religious and spiritual factors has been recognized with regard to risk factors for disordered eating pathology (DEP). Specifically, religious orientation, or underlying religious motivation, has been associated with DEP among a variety of religious groups. Extrinsic religious orientation has consistently been found to be associated with increased levels of DEP among Christians and Jews in the USA. However, this paradigm has not been investigated cross-culturally. The current study is the first to examine the association of extrinsic religious orientation and DEP among Modern Orthodox Israeli adolescents. Furthermore, the mediating mechanisms of adherence to the Superwoman Ideal and body dissatisfaction are explored to further elucidate the mechanisms generating the association between religious orientation and DEP. A sample of 120 Modern Orthodox Israeli adolescent females participated in an anonymous survey which asked about DEP, body dissatisfaction, adherence to the Superwoman Ideal and religious orientation. Mediation models revealed a significant association between extrinsic religious orientation and DEP. Furthermore, adherence to the Superwoman Ideal and body dissatisfaction serially mediated the association between religious orientation and DEP. Findings suggest that a pathway through which extrinsic orientation influences DEP is through greater adherence to the Superwoman Ideal which leads to higher levels of body dissatisfaction, which is known to be a proximal risk factor for DEP. This finding is discussed in light of specific cultural pressures within the Modern Orthodox population and related clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Eating disorders
  • Religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)
  • Religious studies

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