VISTAS Client Characteristics and Needs

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Poor, Black, and Bulimic: A Study of Black Adolescent Females of a Lower Socioeconomic Status

Morgan Z. Inniss


Why should we bother to look for eating disorders among Black women when only White girls get them? This has been the prevailing belief in eating disorder research since bulimia was first recognized as a psychiatric disorder in 1980 (American Psychiatric Association, 1980). The commonly recognized profile of a bulimic is a White female in late adolescence/early adulthood, who is either normal or slightly overweight, belonging to a middle- or upper class household (Hsu, 1989). Black women have been considered to be safe from developing eating disorders because of the pedestrian belief that Black folk don’t mind being bigger in size. Over the years, many studies have found that Black adolescent females were less obsessed with being thin than White adolescent females (NeumarkSztainer, Story, Falkner, Beuhring, & Resnick, 1999; Rubin, Fitts, & Becker, 2003). In particular, these studies found that Black teenage girls cared more about proper grooming than being thin. These results confirmed the belief that bigger is not bad in the Black community

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