This project will investigate the influence of experimentally manipulated perceived social
standing on eating behavior and obesity risk.
The scope of work outlined in this proposal will investigate experimentally manipulated
social status on acute eating behavior, energy intake, and risk for obesity. This will be
accomplished using a randomized, crossover design to place young adults in experimental high
and low social status conditions. At visit 1, participants will complete baseline
measurements, and then consume a standardized breakfast. In order to control for the
influence of stress on eating behavior in both conditions, the participants will participate
in the Stroop Test, a test known to induce stress in individuals, following breakfast. Using
a computerized randomization scheme, each participant will be randomized to either the low
or high social status condition (½ will receive high first; ½ will receive low first) and
will receive the packet of rules and instructions for their respective condition. The
participants will play Monopoly for up to 2 hours with another player they have not
previously met. At the end of the game, the high social status player will be told that they
won, and the low social status player will be told that they lost. The participants will
participate in the Stroop Test again. Then the investigators will take the players into the
Children's Eating Laboratory, where a buffet ad libitum lunch will be served in separate
rooms. The participants will have 30 minutes to consume their lunch and plate waste will be
measured to assess each participant's dietary intake. There will be a 4-week washout period
and the second visit will be exactly like the first, except that they will participate in
the alternate social status condition. The investigators will evaluate whether there was
within-subject variation in dietary intakes based upon which social status condition they
were placed in.
- Ages 19-25
- Self-identified Hispanic ethnicity
- Born in the United States
- Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥18.5 and ≤30 kg/m2
- A score on the MacArthur scale of subjective social status ≥3 and ≤8
- No self-report of acute or chronic disease (heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal
disorders in particular)
- No plans for extended travel (>1 week) within the next 2 months
- No current tobacco use
- Capable and willing to give informed consent, understand inclusion criteria, and
accept the randomized assignment
- Never played monopoly before
- Not born in the United States
- Strict dietary restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free/lactose
- Participation in any weight reduction program, weight-loss diet, or other special
diet within the previous 3 months
- Weight loss or gain of ≥10 pounds in the past 6 months for any reason except
post-partum weight loss
- Currently taking medication that suppresses or stimulates appetite
- Current smoker or quit smoking less than 6 months prior
- Any major disease, including:
- Active cancer or cancer requiring treatment in the past 2 years (except
nonmelanoma skin cancer).
- Active or chronic infections, including self-reported HIV positivity and active
- Diagnosis of cardiovascular disease
- Gastrointestinal disease, including inflammatory bowel disease that has required
treatment in the past year, celiac disease, recent of significant abdominal
- Active renal disease
- Lung disease such as chronic obstructive airway disease requiring use of oxygen
- Diagnosis of diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
- Uncontrolled psychiatric disease (such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) that,
in the opinion of the investigators, would impede conduct of the trial or completion
- A score on the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) (Derogatis & Melisaratos, 1983) that
exceeds the 90th percentile
- History of or current eating disorders, or an Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) score
- Conditions or behaviors likely to effect the conduct of the trial: unable or
unwilling to give informed consent; unable to communicate with the pertinent clinic
staff; another household member is a participant or staff member in the trial;
unwilling to accept social status assignment by randomization; current or anticipated
participation in another intervention research project that would interfere with the
intervention offered in the trial; likely to move away from participating university
before visits are completed; unable to walk 0.25 mile in 10 minutes.
- Currently taking antidepressant, steroid, or thyroid medication, unless dosage has
been stable for at least 6 months.
- A recent or ongoing problem with drug abuse or addiction.
- Excessive alcohol intake, either acute or chronic, defined as any one of the
following: 1) average consumption of 3 or more alcohol containing beverages daily; 2)
consumption of 7 or more alcoholic beverages within a 24-hr period in the past 12
months; or 3) other evidence available to clinic staff.
- Not willing to be randomized to any of the two experimental conditions.
- Pregnancy and childbearing: currently pregnant or less than 3 months post-partum;
currently nursing or within 6 weeks of having completed nursing; pregnancy
anticipated during study; unwilling to report possible or confirmed pregnancies
promptly during the course of the trial; unwilling to take adequate contraceptive
measures if potentially fertile.
- Any other conditions which, in opinion of the investigators, would adversely affect
the conduct of the trial.