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Impact of Group Settings and Gender on Meals Purchased by College Students


Marci D. Cottingham, Department of Sociology, University of Akron, Olin Hall 247, Akron, OH 44325. E-mail:


This study examines the impact of social context and perception of weight on calories purchased by college students in a natural setting. Not only did women in mixed-gender groups purchase fewer calories than did women in same-gender groups, but significant interaction effects exist among the gender composition of groups, perception of being overweight, and gender of respondents. Men modified calories purchased across mixed-gender and same-gender groups, purchasing more when in mixed-gender groups. The study helps address theoretical and methodological gaps in prior research and frames the findings in terms of variation of gender salience across social relational contexts.