The Healthy-eater Identity

By: Sarah Stembridge  

This study examines the meanings attached to and attitudes taken towards food through the lens of identity. Specifically, I seek to understand how current meanings attached to food are internalized by individuals for whom healthy-eating becomes incorporated into the sense of self. I do so by employing an identity theory framework to investigate the influences of a healthy-eater identity on behavior, emotion, and attitudes taken towards food and eating. Behaviors examined include grocery stores shopped at most frequently, use of food-related media, and self-elected social exclusion. Emotional outcomes include experiences of guilt upon eating food considered unhealthy, and distress upon finding oneself in a social situation in which available food options do not meet the standards of acceptability. Attitudinal outcomes include food anxiety and orthorexia. A survey was distributed electronically and yielded 540 responses. Results indicate that the salience of the healthy-eater identity influences the examined outcomes as hypothesized.

Identity Theory, Healthy-eater Identity, Orthorexia, Diet, Health, Eating Disorders
Food, Nutrition, and Health
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Sarah Stembridge

-, -, University of California, San Diego, United States
California, United States