Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Mary Kaye Sawyer-Morse


Beth Senne-Duff


Mary Ruth Moore


Traditionally the occurance of eating disorders has been noted in Caucasian, adolescent females. The purpose of this study was to determine whether Mexican-American preadolescent children possessed disordered eating behaviors and how this affects their body image. The study sample consisted of 68 fourth, fifth, and six grade students. Participants attended either School A or School B located in San Antonio, Texas. Appropriate parental consent was obtained before any student participated. The sample consisted of 41% males and 57% females. Ages ranged from 9 years of age to 12. The majority of participants were Mexican-American (84%). Study participants completed the Kids Eating Disorders Survey (KEDS), a series of self esteem questions, peer and family influence questions, and a figure rating scale. All surveys were administered by the Principle Investigator or a trained nutrition student from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Results of the KEDS indicated 54% of the children wanted to lose weight and 30% were afraid to eat for fear they would gain weight. Additionally, results showed 7.1% of the students had tried vomiting in order to lose weight, 2.9% had taken laxatives, and 1.5% claimed to use diuretics. Approximately 46% claimed to have exercised more than 1 hour per day in order to lose weight. Coefficient alphas were used to measure the internal consistency of various measures in the study. The reliability for questions 21-27 examining family and peer influence was .28 illustrating poor internal consistency. A principal component factor analysis was performed on the first 12 items of the KEDS. Factors were based on those used by Childress and used to determine if there was a relationship between eating and weight dissatisfaction and disordered eating practices. Relationships were found in questions 1,2,3,4,6,7 and question 9 on the KEDS. T-tests were performed in order to examine the differences between the yes/no responses for the first 10 questions on the KEDS and BMI score for boys and girls. For boys significance was found for the questions "Do you want to lose weight now?" (t=4.01, df=26, p<.001), "Have you ever thought you looked fat to other people?" (t=4.17, df=24, p

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