Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Psychology

First Advisor

Elizabeth Brondolo


Unhealthy eating behaviors, such as increased consumption of unhealthy food and decreased consumption of healthy food, have been linked to poor health outcomes (Ambrosini, 2014). Stress, including social rejection, has been associated with an increase in unhealthy eating behaviors (Groesz et al., 2012; Laugero et al., 2018). Conversely, an increased sense of ethnic identity has been linked to healthy eating behaviors (Brown et al., 2016; Lewis et al., 2018). In this study, we examined the association of relational schemas concerning social rejection as well as ethnic identity to food consumption. While prior studies have examined the relationship of social stressors to unhealthy eating behaviors, the relationship of the relational schemas examined in this study to unhealthy eating behaviors has not been previously examined. An ethnically diverse sample of participants recruited from a community medical center (N = 137) completed self-report measures. These included a demographics questionnaire, measures of rejection schemas, measures of ethnic identity schemas, and measures of eating behavior. Results showed a significant main effect of social rejection schemas on overall food consumption and no effect of ethnic identity. In conclusion, the hypothesis that there would be different effects on unhealthy consumption versus healthy consumption was not supported.

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