An identity-based motivational model of the effects of perceived discrimination on health-related behaviors
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Perceived discrimination is associated with increased engagement in unhealthy behaviors. We propose an identity-based pathway to explain this link. Drawing on an identity-based motivation model of health behaviors (Oyserman, Fryberg, & Yoder, 2007), we propose that erceptions of discrimination lead individuals to engage in ingroup-prototypical behaviors in the service of validating their identity and creating a sense of ingroup belonging. To the extent that people perceive unhealthy behaviors as ingroup-prototypical, perceived discrimination may thus increase motivation to engage in unhealthy behaviors. We describe our theoretical model and two studies that demonstrate initial support for some paths in this model. In Study 1, African American participants who reflected on racial discrimination were more likely to endorse unhealthy ingroup-prototypical behavior as self-characteristic than those who reflected on a neutral event. In Study 2, among African American participants who perceived unhealthy behaviors to be ingroup-prototypical, discrimination predicted greater endorsement of unhealthy behaviors as self-characteristic as compared to a control condition. These effects held both with and without controlling for body mass index (BMI) and income. Broader implications of this model for how discrimination adversely affects health-related decisions are discussed.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1177/1368430216634192
Publication InfoBlodorn, A; Major, B; & Richman, Laura Smart (2016). An identity-based motivational model of the effects of perceived discrimination on health-related behaviors. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 19(4). pp. 415-425. 10.1177/1368430216634192. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12414.
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Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences
Dr. Richman's research broadly focuses on understanding factors that contribute to health disparities for disadvantaged groups. Some research areas include the role of social status, gentrification, and social network characteristics on health behaviors and outcomes. Click here for .pdf links to my publicationsAreas of expertise: Health