The Effect of Sorority Membership on Eating Disorders and Body Mass Index

35 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2013

See all articles by Susan L. Averett

Susan L. Averett

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business

Sabrina Terrizzi

Moravian College

Yang Wang

Lafayette College

Abstract

Eating disorders affect 12-25% of college women. Previous research established a positive correlation between sorority membership and eating disorders. We investigate a possible causal link between sororities and weight-related behaviors and eating disorders using data from the American College Health Association. Using Propensity Score Matching and Instrumental Variable methods, we confirm that sororities exert a negative effect on the weight-related behaviors of their members. However, females who are more resilient to these outcomes self-select into sororities, implying that females in sororities are less adversely affected by them than a female who was randomly selected to join a sorority would be.

Keywords: obesity, underweight, BMI, sorority, anorexia, bulimia, eating disorders, weight control

JEL Classification: I12, I18

Suggested Citation

Averett, Susan and Terrizzi, Sabrina and Wang, Yang, The Effect of Sorority Membership on Eating Disorders and Body Mass Index. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7512. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2314807

Susan Averett (Contact Author)

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business ( email )

Easton, PA 18042
United States
610-250-5307 (Phone)
610-250-8961 (Fax)

Sabrina Terrizzi

Moravian College

Yang Wang

Lafayette College ( email )

Easton, PA 18042
United States
610-330-5298 (Phone)
610-330-5715 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://economics.lafayette.edu/

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