Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Director

Robin J. Lewis

Committee Member

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Kristin E. Heron

Committee Member

Sheri Colbert-Ochs

Committee Member

Ninoska Peterson

Abstract

Lesbian women may experience discrimination because of their gender and their sexual orientation termed sexism and heterosexism, respectively. Both sexism and heterosexism are associated with increased psychological distress and negative affect among lesbian women. Furthermore, preliminary evidence suggests that heterosexism is associated with binge eating among lesbian women. However, the relationship between discrimination and binge eating has received limited empirical examination. This study examined associations between sexism and heterosexism, negative affect, and binge eating using a daily diary methodology. Participants were recruited online through social media and LGBT organizations after completing an online eligibility survey with measures of demographics, binge eating, social isolation, and lesbian and feminist identity. A sample of thirty eligible women (i.e., 18-30 year old lesbian women who reported binge eating in the past week) completed daily measures of sexism, heterosexism, negative affect, and binge eating for 10 days. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that daily sexism was associated with daily negative affect, and, daily negative affect was associated with daily binge eating. Similarly, daily heterosexism was related to daily negative affect, and, daily negative affect was related to daily binge eating. Positive lesbian identity (i.e., identity affirmation) moderated the relationship between daily heterosexism and daily binge eating, such that, high identity affirmation strengthened the relationship between heterosexism and binge eating. Aspects of feminist identity did not moderate the relationship between daily sexism and daily binge eating. Neither social support nor social isolation moderated the relationship between daily heterosexism and daily binge eating. These results demonstrate the negative impact that heterosexism and sexism have on binge eating in daily life among lesbian women.

ISBN

9781339040837

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