The talk was titled, “Raising Super Women…and Emotional Eaters (?): Exploring the relationship between socialized coping responses to discrimination and disordered eating for collegiate Black women.”
Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of African and African American Studies Buffie Longmire-Avital gave a virtual talk titled “Raising Super Women…and Emotional Eaters (?): Exploring the relationship between socialized coping responses to discrimination and disordered eating for collegiate Black women” at the CUNY Graduate Center for Developmental Psychology.
Longmire-Avital presented a portion of the research she conducted with Honors student, Jennifer Finkelstein ’19. Their mixed data study argued that when researchers and practitioners adopt a broader view of eating pathology, one that includes disorganized eating, which is linked with emotional eating, binge eating, bulimia, and obesity, it counters the perception that Black women are immune to the development of eating pathology.
Further, as an agent of socialization around eating and race, Longmire-Avital and Finkelstein propose that mothers may not only impact the way their daughters think about their own and other’s weight but contribute to the disorganized eating behaviors of their daughters.
The study aims and presentation reflected on the possibility that for Black collegiate women motives for engaging in emotional eating may stem from a maladaptive coping response to race-related stress and trauma, versus solely managing body image. Collectively the mixed-data findings from this study emphasize the importance of understanding and acknowledging the role of chronic racism and discrimination on the development of eating pathology for collegiate Black women. Specifically, the iatrogenic effects of encouraging superwoman or magical black girl responses to the onslaught of chronic injustice. Longmire-Avital contextualized these findings within a discussion on the need for a critical race theory frame for understanding racial health disparities.
In addition to receiving funding through the Honors program, Jennifer participated in SURE and was named a Provost Scholar. Jennifer is currently in a joint master’s program at University College London/Yale University for her MRes in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology.