Sex Roles

, Volume 56, Issue 3–4, pp 193–203 | Cite as

Embodied Discrimination: The Relation of Sexism and Distress to Women’s Drinking and Smoking Behaviors

  • Alyssa N. ZuckerEmail author
  • Laura J. Landry
Original Article


Discrimination has been conceptualized as a stressor that may be more negative than generic stress because it is tied to valued and unchangeable social identities. As with other stressful events, the experience of sexism has been related to poorer mental health and some physical health outcomes. This study of 179 female college students (79% of whom were White) showed that the relation between perceived sexism and binge drinking and smoking was mediated by psychological distress. In addition, there was a direct relation between sexism and smoking for weight control. Given the large toll that tobacco and excessive alcohol use exact on the U.S. population, we suggest that policy makers aim to reduce discrimination as one method to improve overall health.


Sexism Discrimination Distress Binge drinking Smoking 



Thanks to Ami M. Lynch, Joan M. Ostrove, Eileen L. Zurbriggen, and Lance Landry for assistance on earlier drafts of the manuscript and to Ariel M. Lelchook for library research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe George Washington UniversityWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Women’s Studies ProgramThe George Washington UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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