Michelle Lozano

Year: Junior

Major(s):  Psychology

Mentor: Bohnert, Amy

Department: Psychology

Project Title: Speaking Up and Staying the Course: Links between Body Weight, Assertiveness and Grit in Low-income Ethnic Minority Girls

Project Abstract: Low-income, ethnic minority girls are disproportionately burdened by childhood obesity and its consequences (Ogden et al., 2012). Being overweight as a child is associated with a host of adverse psychological consequences by which ethnic minority females are thus disproportionately affected (Nishina, Ammon, Bellmore & Graham, 2006). Two unexplored potential psychological consequences of obesity that may be particularly relevant for low-income, ethnic minority girls are assertiveness and grit. These two qualities may be important for fostering leadership skills and success in a demographic already multiply disadvantaged by low socioeconomic status and membership in a minority group. Drawing on a sample of urban, low-income, African-American and Latina girls who range from normal weight to obese, this interdisciplinary study will assess relations between body mass index (BMI), assertiveness, and grit. In addition, body dissatisfaction and physical activity will be examined as potential moderators of these relations.