Longmire-Avital and Honors Fellow Jennifer Finkelstein ’19 co-author article in Women & Therapy

The article explores the conversations Black American collegiate women have with their maternal figures about eating disorders.

Associate Professor of Psychology Buffie Longmire-Avital and Honors Fellow Jennifer Finkelstein ’19 have co-authored an article in the latest issue of Women & Therapy exploring the conversations Black American collegiate women have with their maternal figures about eating disorders.

“She Does Not Want Me to Be Like Her”: Exploring the Role of Maternal Communication in Eating Disorder Symptomatology Among Collegiate Black Women is one of a two papers from Finkelstein’s Honors research that explores how maternal modeling and socialization of eating behaviors amplifies and/or discourages the development of eating pathology for young adult Black American women.

As stated in the abstract: This qualitative study aimed to investigate and capture the recalled maternal communication around eating and body image for Black American collegiate emerging adult women. A sample of 143 women was recruited via online social platforms. Findings from framework analysis highlighted that maternal communication around body image, size, and eating disorders was often in reaction to the daughters’ direct or indirect experiences with eating disorder symptomatology. The communication was problem focused, with an aim to address symptoms. The communication also centered on body evaluation and comparison responses, which often emphasized negative sentiments regarding both the mother and the daughter’s body image. Understanding the dynamic exchange of socialization for body image and eating disorder symptomatology is critical when creating culturally tailored, client-centered, and sustainable treatment plans.

As stated on the journal’s website, “Women & Therapy is the only professional journal that focuses entirely on the complex interrelationship between women and the therapeutic experience. Devoted to theoretical, clinical, intersectional, qualitative and quantitative analyses of issues concerning women and therapy, the journal is intended for feminist practitioners, as well as for individuals interested in the practice of feminist therapy.”

Finkelstein is currently working on her master’s of research in developmental neuroscience and psychopathology at the joint University College London and Yale University program.