Sexual Assault and Emotional Eating Among Latino College Students


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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate sexual assault experiences among male Latinx college students and to explore the relationship between sexual assault and emotional eating with consideration of body image, depression, acculturation, and enculturation. It was hypothesized that sexual assault history would be positively correlated with emotional eating and that this relationship would be accounted for by body image, depression, acculturation, and enculturation. Participants were 95 Latino college students who completed several self-report instruments to assess the variables of interest. More than one third of the sample reported experiencing sexual assault. Acculturation, enculturation, and the acculturation–enculturation interaction were not significantly correlated with emotional eating, whereas number of sexual assaults reported, body image, and depression were positively correlated with emotional eating. Enculturation and the acculturation–enculturation interaction were positively correlated with body image. Results indicate that depression accounts for the relationship between sexual assault experiences and emotional eating (all p ≤ .05). Implications include the importance of the development of appropriate outreach and intervention efforts for male Latinx college students who are sexual assault survivors, especially interventions that address depression. Enculturation and the acculturation–enculturation interaction may be distal influences on emotional eating with their associations with body image.

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