Background

Relative to other racial/ethnic groups, obesity rates in the United States are highest among Hispanic American (HA) youth. Previous work has suggested that low social status (SS) influences excess caloric intake and thereby obesity development among HAs. Recent studies have suggested that resilience, the ability to overcome adversity, may play a role in reducing adverse eating behaviors and reducing risk for obesity. Thus, we hypothesized that resilience may moderate the relationship between excess calorie intake and social status.

Methods

The objective of this study was to investigate how resilience moderates the relationship between experimentally manipulated SS and dietary intake among HA adolescents. Using a rigged game ofMonopolyTM, participants were randomized to a high or low SS condition. Following the MonopolyTM game, participants consumed an ad libitum lunch and their dietary intake and obesity-related outcomes were assessed.

Results

There was a significant interaction between resilience and experimentally manipulated social status (MSS) for sugar, total energy intake, and percent energy needs consumed, such that total sugar intake, total energy intake, and percent energy needs consumed were greater in individuals with higher resilience when randomized to the low SS condition. Energy intake and percent energy needs consumed slightly decreased with higher resilience in the high SS group. There was no significant interaction between resilience and experimentally MSS for saturated fat or sodium.

Conclusions

Though resilience did significantly moderate the relationship between social status and some eating behaviors, higher resilience did not ameliorate the effects of low SS on excess calorie intake, suggesting that the physiological response to a low SS condition may be stronger than the influence of resilience.