When does ostracism decrease self-regulation
Carter, Brett Edward
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Previous research in social psychology has suggested that ostracism has a negative impact on SE, and also can affect how much food individuals will consume. Moreover, research in the eating disorders literature shows a negative relationship between self-esteem and eating. As such, the present experiment was designed to merge these two lines of research to examine what causal role, if any, self-esteem plays in men's and women's food consumption. It was proposed that some individuals should show a lack of self regulation in terms of the type and amount of food eaten following ostracism. It was also predicted that this effect would have some possible moderators. To test this prediction, participants were randomly assigned to either an ostracism or inclusion condition within the computer game Cyberball. Results indicated that the ostracism manipulation did not result in the anticipated decrease in SE status nor did it cause any significant changes in eating behavior. Nevertheless, significant correlations between SE and body dissatisfaction (BD) were observed, as well as between BD and appearance based rejection sensitivity. There were also significant correlations between body mass index (BMI) and BD, as well as between SE and ARS in both genders. There was also a significant correlation between SE and BMI, but only for male participants. Exploratory analyses revealed that there may have been an unforeseen impact of experimenter gender on eating behavior post ostracism such that self presentation may have impacted the manner in which individuals responded to ostracism.