Wade, Jeannette Marie (2017). “DOING DIFFERENCE” AND HEALTH: AN EXAMINATION OF SEX, GENDER ORIENTATION AND RACE AS PREDICTORS OF FAST FOOD CONSUMPTION, ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION, AND SEXUAL RISK IN EMERGING ADULTHOOD.
Frequent consumption of fast food, irregular condom use, high risk partnering, and heavy episodic drinking (HED) are risk behaviors that threaten both individual and public health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017) emerging adults (18-25) and males are more likely to engage in these behaviors when compared to older adults and females. There is also evidence of variance by race as African Americans engage in more frequent fast food consumption and high risk partnering, while White Americans engage in more HED behavior and irregular condom use. This dissertation uses the Doing Difference framework to provide socio-structural context for these trends (West and Fenstermaker 1995). According to the framework, social constructions of race, class, and gender are structured at the macro level and reproduced dramaturgically at the interactional level. A review of the literature and an application of the Doing Difference framework led to the following hypotheses, when compared to all other intersections of race, gender, and sex: White American, feminine women consume less fast food, White American, feminine women use condoms less frequently, White American, feminine women have a smaller number of sexual partners, and White American, masculine men have the highest odds of engaging in HED behavior. Hypotheses were tested using data collected for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (ADD health). Results indicated that the impact of sex and gender on engaging in health risk behavior varies by race. While there is evidence that White American health is structured by male sex and masculine gender orientation, race itself appears to have the greatest impact on African American health.
Wade, Jeannette Marie
Doctor of Philosophy
University of Akron