Male identity threat and eating, 2015



Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and unhealthy diets are a known contributing factor. UK policies such as front of pack labelling of food products and campaigns such as "Be food smart" are aimed to promote healthy eating practices. Data show that men benefit from these interventions less than women. One possible mechanism is that social norms about masculinity encourage men to eat meals rich in red meat and potatoes, and low on vegetables. We propose two Internet-based studies to test the hypothesis that in situations where men's masculinity is threatened, they will tend to choose foods that are perceived as more masculine, and that are also less healthy. In the first study, participants would rate food items (see The student diet 2014) on three scales: masculinity/femininity, healthiness/unhealthiness and palatability. In this, the second (experimental) study, male and female participants were randomly assigned to a gender identity threat or a gender identity affirmation condition (using the Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory (CFNI)/Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory (CMNI) respectively), and then requested to choose between different food items. The prediction is that, following a masculinity threat, men would choose more masculine and less healthy foods, compared to the gender affirmation condition. The snowball sample of 129 male respondents was conducted online via Qualtrics.

Data Citation

Newman, Emily; Banas, Kasia. (2016). Male identity threat and eating, 2015 [dataset]. University of Edinburgh. School of Health in Social Science. Clinical Psychology.
Date made available12 Jul 2016
PublisherEdinburgh DataShare
Temporal coverage4 Nov 2015 - 5 Nov 2015
Geographical coverageUnited Kingdon

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