Is comfort food really good for the soul? A replication of Troisi and Gabriel's (2011) Study 2.
ABSTRACT: We report the results of three high-powered replications of Troisi and Gabriel's (2011) idea that writing about comfort food reduces feelings of loneliness amongst securely attached individuals after a belongingness threat. We conducted our studies amongst a large group of participants (Total N = 649) amongst American (MTurk), Dutch (Tilburg University; TiU), and Singaporean (Singapore Management University; SMU) samples. Participants first completed an attachment style scale, followed by writing two essays for manipulating a sense of belongingness and salience of comfort food, and then reporting their loneliness levels. We did not confirm the overall effect over all three countries. However, exploratory results provide the preliminary suggestion that (1) the comfort food explanation likely holds amongst the American samples (including Troisi and Gabriel's), but not amongst the TiU and SMU samples, and potentially that (2) the TiU and SMU participants self-regulate through warmer (vs. colder) temperature foods. Both of these should be regarded with great caution as these analyses were exploratory, and because the Ns for the different temperature foods were small. We suspect we have uncovered first cross-cultural differences in self-regulation through food, but further confirmatory work is required to understand the cultural significance of comfort food for self-regulation.
Project description:Food contributes to an individual's physical and mental well-being and expresses one's cultural identity through preparation, sharing, and consumption (i.e., foodways). Inadequate access to cultural foods can create cultural stress and affect one's identity and well-being. In particular, second-generation U.S. American student populations may have a higher risk for cultural stress due to being away from family, academic stress, environmental changes, and diminished financial stability to purchase cultural foods. Thus, an exploratory qualitative methodology was used to elicit information about second-generation U.S. Americans' food experiences to identify how cultural foods play a role in individual identity and how individual well-being is influenced by the presence or lack of cultural foods. Sixteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with second-generation American students at the University of Nevada, Reno, who self-identified as a cultural or ethnic minority. A standard thematic analysis was conducted. The authors identified that cultural food security influenced the ability to practice foodways, which tied Second-generation American students to their cultural identities. The absence of foodways led to anxiety and depression among students, amplifying the feelings of identity degradation. Second-generation American students discussed that the ability to practice their foodways improved multiple well-being components and led to feelings of happiness, decreased stress, warmth, better digestion, and a sense of belonging, comfort, and safety. College populations continue to grow and become more diverse, and with the increasing Second-generation American students, it is essential to improve the access and availability of cultural foods to improve their overall well-being. (245/250 words).<h4>Supplementary information</h4>The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12571-020-01140-w.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:The social and economic consequences of COVID-19 and related public health interventions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus have been proposed to increase suicide risk. However, no research has examined these relations. This study examined the relations of two COVID-19 consequences (i.e., stay-at-home orders and job loss) to suicide risk through thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and loneliness. METHOD:Online data from a nationwide community sample of 500 adults (mean age = 40) from 45 states were collected between March 27 and April 5, 2020. Participants completed measures assessing thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, loneliness, and suicide risk, as well as whether they (a) were currently under a stay-at-home order and (b) had experienced a recent job loss due to the pandemic. RESULTS:Results revealed a significant indirect relation of stay-at-home order status to suicide risk through thwarted belongingness. Further, whereas recent job loss was significantly correlated with suicide risk, neither the direct relation of job loss to suicide risk (when accounting for their shared relations to perceived burdensomeness) nor the indirect relation through perceived burdensomeness was significant. CONCLUSIONS:Results highlight the potential benefits of interventions targeting thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness to offset suicide risk during this pandemic.
Project description:The present study examined the psychometric properties and construct validity of scores derived from the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire (INQ) using latent variable modeling with 5 independent samples varying in age and level of psychopathology. The INQ was derived from the interpersonal theory of suicide and was developed to measure thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness-both proximal causes of desire for suicide. Results support that thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness are distinct but related constructs and that they can be reliably measured. Further, multiple-group analyses were consistent with invariance for young versus older adults and nonclinical versus clinical populations, thereby supporting the relevance of these constructs to diverse populations. Finally, both constructs demonstrated convergent associations with related interpersonal constructs-including loneliness and social support for belongingness and social worth and death ideation for burdensomeness--as well as prospective associations with suicidal ideation.
Project description:Many people eat unhealthy foods that are high in calories, fat, or sugar when feeling stressed, yet little is known about whether this unhealthy comfort eating actually comforts. Additionally, prior research has not tested whether healthy comfort eating of fruits and vegetables might also alleviate stress, or whether comfort eating during the stress anticipation phase versus immediately after a stressful event is more beneficial for stress relief. The present experiment tested whether unhealthy and healthy comfort eating reduce acute psychophysiological responses to a socially evaluative stressor. Participants (N = 150 healthy women) underwent the Trier Social Stress Test in the lab and were randomly assigned to one of five conditions according to a 2 (food type: unhealthy vs. healthy) x 2 (eating timing: during stress anticipation vs. after the stressor) + 1 (no food control) between-subjects design. Stress outcomes included mood, cognitive appraisals, rumination, salivary cortisol, heart rate variability, and pre-ejection period. Unhealthy and healthy comfort eating did not dampen reactivity or enhance recovery of psychophysiological stress compared to control, and no differences in reactivity or recovery were found by comfort food type. Findings suggest that by replacing unhealthy comfort foods with fruits and vegetables, women will not be sacrificing any stress-reducing benefits and can inherently improve the quality of their diet while avoiding potential drawbacks of unhealthy comfort eating (e.g., links with abdominal obesity).
Project description:School belongingness has gained currency among educators and school health professionals as an important determinant of adolescent health. The current cross-sectional study presents the 15 most significant personal and contextual factors that collectively explain 66.4% (two-thirds) of the variability in 12-year old students' perceptions of belongingness in primary school. The study is part of a larger longitudinal study investigating the factors associated with student adjustment in the transition from primary to secondary school. The study found that girls and students with disabilities had higher school belongingness scores than boys, and their typically developing counterparts respectively; and explained 2.5% of the variability in school belongingness. The majority (47.1% out of 66.4%) of the variability in school belongingness was explained by student personal factors, such as social acceptance, physical appearance competence, coping skills, and social affiliation motivation; followed by parental expectations (3% out of 66.4%), and school-based factors (13.9% out of 66.4%) such as, classroom involvement, task-goal structure, autonomy provision, cultural pluralism, and absence of bullying. Each of the identified contributors of primary school belongingness can be shaped through interventions, system changes, or policy reforms.
Project description:Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDGs) are developed to promote healthier eating patterns, but increasing food prices may make healthy eating less affordable. The aim of this study was to design a range of cost-minimized nutritionally adequate health-promoting food baskets (FBs) that help prevent both micronutrient inadequacy and diet-related non-communicable diseases at lowest cost.Average prices for 312 foods were collected within the Greater Copenhagen area. The cost and nutrient content of five different cost-minimized FBs for a family of four were calculated per day using linear programming. The FBs were defined using five different constraints: cultural acceptability (CA), or dietary guidelines (DG), or nutrient recommendations (N), or cultural acceptability and nutrient recommendations (CAN), or dietary guidelines and nutrient recommendations (DGN). The variety and number of foods in each of the resulting five baskets was increased through limiting the relative share of individual foods.The one-day version of N contained only 12 foods at the minimum cost of DKK 27 (€ 3.6). The CA, DG, and DGN were about twice of this and the CAN cost ~DKK 81 (€ 10.8). The baskets with the greater variety of foods contained from 70 (CAN) to 134 (DGN) foods and cost between DKK 60 (€ 8.1, N) and DKK 125 (€ 16.8, DGN). Ensuring that the food baskets cover both dietary guidelines and nutrient recommendations doubled the cost while cultural acceptability (CAN) tripled it.Use of linear programming facilitates the generation of low-cost food baskets that are nutritionally adequate, health promoting, and culturally acceptable.
Project description:Over the past decade, the Uses and Gratifications theory has driven research on the motives behind social media use. The three most commonly explored motives have been: maintaining relationships, seeking information, and entertainment. The aim of this study was to develop and validate the Scale of Motives for Using Social Networking Sites (SMU-SNS), a measure to assess a wider range of motives for using Social Networking Sites than have previously been researched. A multi-method design with different samples of high-school and university students was used. First, to develop the pool of items, a literature review and a focus group study (n = 48, age range = 16-21) was conducted. Second, to reduce and refine the pool of items a pilot study (n = 168, age range = 14-24) was performed. Third, a validation study (n = 1102, age range = 13-25) was conducted to assess the validity and reliability of the SMU-SNS. Cross-validation using EFA and CFA resulted in a final version comprising 27 items distributed in nine factors (Dating, New Friendships, Academic Purposes, Social Connectedness, Following and Monitoring Others, Entertainment, seeking Social Recognition, Self-expression, and seeking Information). Internal consistency was excellent and evidence of measurement invariance across gender and age was largely achieved. The SMU-SNS scores significantly correlated with other relevant variables, including age, gender, certain personality traits, social support, loneliness, and life satisfaction. Overall, findings supported the SMU-SNS as a valid and reliable measure to assess youth's motives for using Social Networking Sites. Psychometric and general implications are discussed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Research suggests that insomnia is associated with elevated perceptions of loneliness and social disconnection; however, few quasi-experimental studies have tested the relationship between these constructs. This study examined whether insomnia symptom severity predicts changes in perceptions of interpersonal connectedness and desire for emotional support following in-laboratory participation in a social exclusion paradigm. METHODS:Young adults (N?=?70) completed self-report measures assessing constructs of interest before and after engaging in a social exclusion paradigm (Cyberball). Linear regression analyses were used to evaluate whether baseline insomnia symptom severity predicted perceived burdensomeness, desire for emotional support, and thwarted belongingness after playing Cyberball; analyses controlled for baseline perceived burdensomeness, desire for emotional support, and thwarted belongingness, respectively, as well as baseline social anxiety and depression symptoms. RESULTS:Greater insomnia symptom severity significantly predicted greater feelings of perceived burdensomeness following Cyberball participation, beyond baseline perceived burdensomeness, social anxiety symptoms, and depression symptoms (?=?.24, p?=?.001). More severe insomnia symptoms also significantly predicted lower desire for emotional support after playing Cyberball, beyond baseline desire for emotional support and social anxiety symptoms (?=?-.14, p?=?.03) but not beyond baseline depression symptoms (?=?-.16, p?=?.07). Insomnia symptoms were not significantly associated with thwarted belongingness after Cyberball (?=?-.05-.08, p?=?.27-.57). LIMITATIONS:Replication in larger samples and using other sleep disturbance indices is needed. CONCLUSIONS:Findings suggest that individuals with more severe insomnia symptoms in the past two weeks experience greater perceptions of being a burden on others and less desire for emotional support in response to social exclusion.
Project description:Gerotranscendence defines a shift in meta-perspective from earlier materialistic and pragmatic concerns, toward more cosmic and transcendent ones in later life. Population-based studies that have empirically examined this concept using Tornstam's gerotranscendence scale, highlight cosmic transcendence as a core component, which includes a sense of belongingness with past and future generations. Such generative concerns may increase expectations regarding the quality of the bond with one's children in later life. This study examined whether the association between emotional support exchanged with children and feelings of loneliness later in life varied by the degree of cosmic transcendence of the older parent. Data from 1,845 older parents participating in a population-based study living in The Netherlands were analyzed from the 1995/1996 cycle of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Interviews included self-report measures of cosmic transcendence, loneliness, emotional support exchanged with children, health indicators, and marital status. Results indicated that a negative association between loneliness and level of emotional support exchanged with children was more pronounced among older parents with higher cosmic transcendence scores, in particular among the married. It is argued that cosmic transcendence reflects a sense of generativity and an increased emotional dependency on children in later life. Under favorable social conditions (supportive relationships with children and being married) cosmic transcendent views had a positive impact on social well-being in later life. When children no longer met emotional needs of older parents, cosmic transcendence increased feelings of loneliness.
Project description:Loneliness is a serious concern in aging populations. The key risk factors include poor health, depression, poor material circumstances, and low social participation and social support. Oral disease and tooth loss have a significant negative impact on the quality of life and well-being of older adults. However, there is a lack of studies relating oral health to loneliness. This study investigated the association between oral health-related quality of life (through the use of the oral impact on daily performances-OIDP-measure) and loneliness amongst older adults living in England. Data from respondents aged 50 and older from the third (2006-2007) and fifth (2010-2011) waves of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing were analyzed. In the cross-sectional logistic regression model that adjusted for socio-demographic, socio-economic, health, and psychosocial factors, the odds of loneliness were 1.48 (1.16-1.88; p < 0.01) higher amongst those who reported at least one oral impact compared to those with no oral impact. Similarly, in the fully adjusted longitudinal model, respondents who reported an incident oral impact were 1.56 times (1.09-2.25; p < 0.05) more likely to become lonely. The association between oral health-related quality of life and loneliness was attenuated after adjusting for depressive symptoms, low social participation, and social support. Oral health-related quality of life was identified as an independent risk factor for loneliness amongst older adults. Maintaining good oral health in older age may be a protective factor against loneliness.