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Table 1 Summary of reviewed studies

From: Religiosity, spirituality in relation to disordered eating and body image concerns: A systematic review

Author (Year) (Country) Study design Sample size/ characteristic Focus of study
Boisvert et al. (2013) (Canada) [38] Cross-Sectional study N = 591 women from Alberta, Canada. Mean age = 44.32. White (90.19 %), Asian (4.74 %), Hispanic (2.54 %), Aboriginal (2.54 %). Investigated relationships between ethnicity, spirituality, religiosity, body shame, BMI, age and eating disorder symptomatology in women.
Boisvert et al. (2012) (Canada) [37] Cross-Sectional study N = 603 men in Alberta, Canada. Mean age = 42.33. White (86.0 %%), Asian (6.06 %%), Hispanic (2.5 %), Aboriginal (2.4 %). Investigated ethnicity, spirituality, body shame, body mass index (BMI) and age as risk factors for eating disorder symptomatology in men.
Boyatzis et al. (2007) (USA) [25] Random Assignment, pretest-posttest design N = 125 women enrolled in a private university. Protestant (41 %), Catholic (34 %), Jewish (11 %), Agnostic or Atheist (13 %). Tested whether college women's body image would improve after reading religious and spiritual affirmations about their bodies.
Boyatzis et al. (2006) (USA) [35] Cross- Sectional study N = 151 women enrolled in a private university and recent graduates. Protestant (40–60 %), Roman Catholic (30–40 %), Other (10–20 %). Examined relations between women’s total Quest scores and body image and eating behaviour.
Buser (2013) (USA) [34] Cross-Sectional study N = 605 female undergraduate students from a secular university. Mean age = 22.8. Catholic (44.6 %), Protestant (15 %), Jewish (6.1 %), Buddhist (0.7 %), Hindu (0.8 %), Universalist (0.5 %), Mormon (0.2 %), Muslim (1 %), Atheist (2.8 %), Agnostic (4.3 %), Other (9.6 %), No religious affiliation (14 %). Examined the influence of 5 types of spiritual coping on bulimic symptoms.
Feinson et al. (2012) (Israel) [41] Cross-Sectional study N = 790 women. Mean age = 44. Ultra-Orthodox (33 %), Orthodox (23 %), Traditional (21 %), Secular (23 %). Explored religious observance and its presumed protective role for ultra-Orthodox women.
Forthun et al. (2003) (USA) [29] Cross-Sectional study N = 876 women from a large Southwestern university. Mean age = 20.2. Evaluated the role of intrinsic and extrinsic religiousness in modifying family risk on disordered eating among women
Gates et al. (2009) (USA) [36] Cross-Sectional study N = 330 undergraduate students at a large state university in the North West. Female (67 %), Male (33 %). Mean age = 21.42. Christian (49 %), Catholic (15 %), Latter Day Saints (12 %), Other religious affiliation not listed (7 %), No religious affiliation (17 %). Examined the relationship between religious affiliation, religious angst and disordered eating
Gluck et al. (2002) (USA) [39] Cross-Sectional study N = 126 females from several different Universities and Colleges in the Northeast. Female undergraduates, less then 27 years old, born in USA, Judaism as religious affiliation, and Caucasian as ethnic identification. Mean age = 20. Orthodox Jews (62 %), Secular Jews (38 %). Compared body dissatisfaction and disturbed eating behaviours between Orthodox and Secular Jewish women.
Hayman et al. (2007) (USA) [46] Cross-Sectional study N = 204 from Freshman academic success course. Women (63 %), Men (37 %). Mean age = 18.17. Investigated the relationship between spirituality, body image, self-esteem and stress.
Homan et al. (2013) (USA) [45] Cross-Sectional study N = 104 female students from a private Christian liberal arts college. Mean age = 20. Extremely religious (4 %), Very religious (62.6 %), Somewhat religious (28.4 %), Not at all religious (5 %). Tested whether a warm and secure relationship with God was related to positive body image.
Homan et al. (2010) (USA) [28] Longitudinal study N = 231 female students from a private Christian liberal arts college. Mean age = 19.2. Protestant (58 %), Other Christian denominations (41 %). Extremely religious (16 %), Very religious (56 %), Somewhat religious (26 %), Not at all religious (2 %). Explored whether a secure relationship with God would protect young women from pressure to be thin, thin-ideal internalisation, body dissatisfaction and dieting.
Inman et al. (2014) (USA) [26] Experimental and Cross-Sectional N = 111 women from a Christian college. Religion was extremely important (83 %). Experimentally examined whether religious affirming statements buffered against exposure to thing models. Also looked at relationship between religious commitment, general commitment, and body satisfaction.
Inman (2014) (USA) [27] Experimental and Cross-Sectional N = 56 men from a Christian college. Religion was extremely important (56 %). Experimentally examined whether religious affirming statements or strong religious commitment buffered against media threats.
Jacobs-Pilipski et al. (2005) (USA) [33] Cross-Sectional study N = 255 female university students. Recruited from 2 public and 2 private west coast universities. Mean age = 20.7. Protestant (29 %), Roman Catholic (24 %), Jewish (11 %), Non-western religions (19 %), Agnostic/Atheist (17 %). Examined the spiritual and religious (S/R) beliefs and practices of college-age women, and the relationship between body image distress, coping, and S/R.
Kim (2006) (USA) [20] Cross-Sectional study N = 546 community sample. Female- 64 %, Male- 33 %. Mean age: Female- 44, Male- 42. Conservative Protestant (28 %), Mainline Protestant (20 %), Catholic (30 %), Other (15 %), Non-religious (6 %). Examined religion’s relationships with body satisfaction and dieting.
Latzer et al. (2014) (USA) [43] Cross- Sectional study N = 102 Modern Orthodox Jewish adolescent females. Ages 17–18. Explored religious coping and disordered eating pathology amongst Orthodox Jewish adolescent girls.
Latzer et al. (2007) (Israel) [40] Cross- Sectional study N = 320 Jewish religious adolescent school girls in the 9th-12th grades from a Modern Orthodox national boarding school. Examined the relation between level of religiosity, grade level, self-esteem, and level of disordered eating-related psychopathology among Modern Orthodox Jewish adolescent girls living in Israel.
Mahoney et al. (2005) (USA) [31] Cross-Sectional study N = 289 college students enrolled in a Midwest state university. Female (77.5 %), Male (22.5 %). Mean age = 19.2. Protestant (38 %), Roman Catholic (36 %), Jewish (1 %), Other (11 %), None (14 %). Examined how the construct of sanctification might be applied to the human body and how such perceptions are tied to lifestyle variables that can compromise or enhance health.
Pinhas et al. (2008) (Canada) [42] Cross-Sectional study N = 1130 Females + 1145 Males living in Toronto and attending high school full time. Mean age: Jewish female- 15.8, Non Jewish female- 15.8, Jewish male- 16, Non-Jewish male- 15. Jewish (55 %), Christian (21 %), Eastern (6 %), Muslim (5 %), Mixed (10 %), Other (3 %). Contrasted the presence and nature of eating attitudes and behaviours in Jewish, compared to non-Jewish adolescents in Toronto. Also looked at the relation between the type of religious observance and disordered eating attitudes and behaviours in Jewish adolescents.
Watkins et al. (2006) (USA) [32] Cross-Sectional study N = 809 female college students. 18–20 years (40.5 %), 21–25 years (35.1 %), 26–29 years (9 %), 30 years + (15.5 %). Measured and examined the relationship between spiritual well-being and binge eating.
Weinberger-Litman et al. (2008) (USA) [44] Cross-Sectional study N = 301 Jewish women. Mean age- 19. Orthodox or Modern Orthodox Jewish (76.1 %), Other (23.9 %). Assessed the influence of religious orientation and spiritual well-being on body dissatisfaction and disordered eating in Jewish women.