This is an application for a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award with a focus on developing expertise in the investigation of sociocultural risk factors for eating disorders by combining perspectives from epidemiology, anthropology, and psychiatry. Candidate: The Candidate, already an established medical anthropologist and psychiatrist with clinical expertise in eating disorders, now seeks additional training (with a primary focus in epidemiology) to make her research more clinically relevant by integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches. Career development plans include training in (1) psychiatric epidemiology; (2) advanced qualitative methods; (3) skills for research with Puerto Ricans; and (4) the responsible conduct of research. Formal coursework, culminating in a master's of science degree in the psychiatric epidemiology program at the Harvard School of Public Health, and supervision with consultants with expertise in both qualitative and quantitative methods will lay the foundation for future independent investigation by the Candidate in this area. Environment: The proposed study will be based at the Massachusetts General Hospital under the supervision of Sponsor, Dr. Jane Murphy, and Co-Sponsor, Dr. Ruth StriegeI-Moore, with consultation from additional experts. Research Plan: Population data based studies suggest that several forms of social transition are associated with increased prevalence of disordered eating in young women across extremely diverse cultural groups. This study will build on the Candidate's previous research demonstrating an increase in disordered eating behaviors and attitudes among ethnic Fijian girls in the setting of rapid modernization in Fiji. Qualitative and quantitative methods and data will be used iteratively in separate studies in two distinct study populations of 15-24 year old females ethnic Fijians in Fiji and mainland Puerto Ricans in Boston. Study I will test hypotheses derived from the Candidate's previous qualitative research in Fiji with a cross-sectional survey to examine associations between primary predictors (relating to dimensions of social transition) and outcomes (relating to disordered eating) in Fijians. Study II will develop a general model for how social transition may contribute to risk for disordered eating across diverse populations by analysis of interview and focus group data exploring applicability of this model to a mainland Puerto Rican study population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Social Sciences, Nursing, Epidemiology and Methods 4 (SNEM)
Program Officer
Otey, Emeline M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
Zip Code
Opoliner, April; Blacker, Deborah; Fitzmaurice, Garrett et al. (2014) Challenges in assessing depressive symptoms in Fiji: A psychometric evaluation of the CES-D. Int J Soc Psychiatry 60:367-76
Gerbasi, Margaret E; Richards, Lauren K; Thomas, Jennifer J et al. (2014) Globalization and eating disorder risk: peer influence, perceived social norms, and adolescent disordered eating in Fiji. Int J Eat Disord 47:727-37
Thomas, J J; Crosby, R D; Wonderlich, S A et al. (2011) A latent profile analysis of the typology of bulimic symptoms in an indigenous Pacific population: evidence of cross-cultural variation in phenomenology. Psychol Med 41:195-206
Becker, Anne E; Fay, Kristen E; Agnew-Blais, Jessica et al. (2011) Social network media exposure and adolescent eating pathology in Fiji. Br J Psychiatry 198:43-50
Thompson-McCormick, Jonas J; Thomas, Jennifer J; Bainivualiku, Asenaca et al. (2010) Breakfast skipping as a risk correlate of overweight and obesity in school-going ethnic Fijian adolescent girls. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 19:372-82
Becker, Anne E; Fay, Kristen; Agnew-Blais, Jessica et al. (2010) Development of a measure of ""acculturation"" for ethnic Fijians: methodologic and conceptual considerations for application to eating disorders research. Transcult Psychiatry 47:754-88
Becker, Anne E; Hadley Arrindell, Adrienne; Perloe, Alexandra et al. (2010) A qualitative study of perceived social barriers to care for eating disorders: perspectives from ethnically diverse health care consumers. Int J Eat Disord 43:633-47
Becker, Anne E; Thomas, Jennifer J; Bainivualiku, Asenaca et al. (2010) Validity and reliability of a Fijian translation and adaptation of the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire. Int J Eat Disord 43:171-8
Becker, Anne E; Roberts, Andrea L; Perloe, Alexandra et al. (2010) Youth health-risk behavior assessment in Fiji: the reliability of Global School-based Student Health Survey content adapted for ethnic Fijian girls. Ethn Health 15:181-97
Becker, Anne E; Thomas, Jennifer J; Bainivualiku, Asenaca et al. (2010) Adaptation and evaluation of the Clinical Impairment Assessment to assess disordered eating related distress in an adolescent female ethnic Fijian population. Int J Eat Disord 43:179-86

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications