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 mens 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 (generated in a completed pilot study) on three scales: masculinity/femininity, healthiness/unhealthiness and palatability. In the second (experimental) study, male and female participants would be randomly assigned to a gender identity threat or a gender identity affirmation condition, 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. We expect this effect not to occur among women.

Items in this Collection

  • Student ratings of food masculinity, healthiness and palatability, 2015 

    Banas, Kasia; Newman, Emily
    This short study provided groundwork for later research looking at the effect of gender threat on food choices. In this current study, a snowball sample of 128 university students residing in the UK were recruited ...
  • The student diet 

    Newman, Emily; Banas, Kasia
    This survey aimed to establish what foods are typically eaten by students in the United Kingdom as preliminary information for later studies of gender identity and diet. Specifically, we aimed to uncover what foods were ...