Examining social support, rumination, and optimism in relation to binge eating among Caucasian and African–American college women

  • Tyler B. MasonEmail author
  • Robin J. Lewis
Original Article



Binge eating is a significant concern among college age women—both Caucasian and African–American women. Research has shown that social support, coping, and optimism are associated with engaging in fewer negative health behaviors including binge eating among college students. However, the impact of sources of social support (i.e., support from family, friends, and a special person), rumination, and optimism on binge eating as a function of race/ethnicity has received less attention. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between social support, rumination, and optimism and binge eating among Caucasian and American–American women, separately.


Caucasian (n = 100) and African–American (n = 84) women from a university in the Mid-Atlantic US completed an online survey about eating behaviors and psychosocial health.


Social support from friends was associated with less likelihood of binge eating among Caucasian women. Social support from family was associated with less likelihood of binge eating among African–American women, but greater likelihood of binge eating among Caucasian women. Rumination was associated with greater likelihood of binge eating among Caucasian and African–American women. Optimism was associated with less likelihood of binge eating among African–American women.


These results demonstrate similarities and differences in correlates of binge eating as a function of race/ethnicity.


Bulimia Binge eating disorder Social support Emotional adjustment Optimism African–Americans 


Compliance with ethical standards


No funding was received for this research.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuropsychiatric Research InstituteFargoUSA
  2. 2.Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  3. 3.The Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical PsychologyNorfolkUSA

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