Title

The bad taste of social ostracism: The effects of exclusion on the eating behaviors of African-American women

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Psychology & Health

Publication Date

2015

Date Added

2022-07-12

Abstract

African-American women experience disproportionately higher rates of obesity than do Caucasian women. The stress African-American women encounter from experiences of discrimination may influence their eating behaviours, which could contribute to weight gain. Emotional eating theory suggests some people increase their intake of high-calorie foods to cope with stressful experiences. We investigated the effects of social exclusion by other African-American women or by Caucasian women for African-American women’s distress and food consumption using a laboratory paradigm. As hypothesised, there were main effects of ostracism and interactions between ostracism and race, although not all of the interactions took the expected form. As hypothesised, African-American women ate more potato crisps after being excluded by Caucasians than by African-Americans. Unexpectedly, African-American women who were excluded by other African-American women self-reported more emotional distress than did African-American women excluded by Caucasian women. These findings suggest that ostracism by both in-group and out-group members are disturbing, although people may respond to in-group and out-group exclusion in different ways. Directions for future research are suggested that could elucidate the circumstances under which different emotional and behavioural coping responses are employed.

DOI

10.1080/08870446.2014.983923

Keywords

Health

Disciplines

Public Health

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