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Author(s): Hinrichs, K.
Hoeks, J.
Campos, L.
Guedes, D.
Godinho, C.
Matos, M.
Graça, J.
Date: 2022
Title: Why so defensive? Negative affect and gender differences in defensiveness toward plant-based diets
Journal title: Food Quality and Preference
Volume: 102
Reference: Hinrichs, K., Hoeks, J., Campos, L., Guedes, D., Godinho, C., Matos, M., & Graça, J. (2022). Why so defensive? Negative affect and gender differences in defensiveness toward plant-based diets. Food Quality and Preference, 102: 104662.
Medeiros, E., Valente, B., Gonçalves, V., & Castro, P.(2022). How impactful are public policies on environmental sustainability? Debating the Portuguese case of PO SEUR 2014–2020. Sustainability, 14(13): 7917.
ISSN: 0950-3293
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1016/j.foodqual.2022.104662
Keywords: Plant-based diets
Meat consumption
Reactance affect
Gender differences
Abstract: Evidence consistently shows that men (compared to women) tend to be more attached to meat consumption, less willing to follow plant-based diets, and overall more likely to express defensiveness toward plant-based eating. This study expands knowledge on the meat-masculinity link, by examining whether negative affect toward plant-based eating helps explain why these gender differences occur. Young consumers (N = 1130, 40.4% male, aged 20–35 years, USA) watched a video message promoting plant-based diets and completed a survey with three relevant expressions of defensiveness toward plant-based eating, namely threat construal, psychological reactance, and moral disengagement. Exposure to the messages did not impact gender differences in defensiveness compared to a control condition. Nonetheless, male consumers scored higher than female consumers in all measures of defensiveness (irrespective of experimental manipulation), with negative affect toward plant-based eating partly or fully mediating the associations between gender and defensiveness. Overall, these findings suggest that: (a) male defensiveness toward plant-based eating may be partly explained by negative affect, which is linked to a greater tendency to perceive reduced meat consumption as a threat and a limitation to one's freedom, and an increased propensity to deploy moral disengagement strategies such as pro-meat rationalizations; but (b) exposure to communication products promoting plant-based diets does not necessarily heighten male defensiveness toward plant-based eating (i.e., this study found no evidence of a “boomerang effect”). Future research on the topic could test whether affect-focused strategies may help decrease defensiveness to plant-based eating.
Peerreviewed: yes
Access type: Open Access
Appears in Collections:CIS-RI - Artigos em revistas científicas internacionais com arbitragem científica

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