Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 82 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Julia M Hormes

Committee Members

Drew A Anderson, C Alix Timko


discrimination, identity, mental health, stereotype, vegan, Vegans, Stereotypes (Social psychology), Veganism

Subject Categories



Introduction. Academic work on vegans is biased towards studying educated White women, despite evidence that vegans having varying identities. The lack of diversity in research has implications for our understanding of psychological issues that affect vegans. Data regarding mental health of vegans is mixed, due to a failure to account for differing identities and experiences. Past work has shown gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity/race, and experiences with discrimination to impact mental health. More work is needed to examine moderators of mental health outcomes among diverse groups of vegans. Methods. This cross-sectional study surveyed a demographically diverse sample of vegan participants (n = 2,220) via an online battery of questions regarding demographics, mental health, and experiences with discrimination and stereotype threat. This study also surveyed a sample of undergraduate college students (n = 392) via an online questionnaire examining implicit bias towards vegans. Results. Vegan participants were diverse in terms of demographics and motivations. Aim 1. Neither the general population nor vegans endorsed common stereotypes about vegans as being predominantly White, female, and privileged (all ps > 0.05). Nonvegans did not hold biases towards vegans (p = 0.67), while vegans tended to attribute more positive adjectives to other vegans (p < 0.001; partial eta squared= 0.47). Aim 2. Gender and sexual orientation relate to mental health outcomes, such that cisgender women, gender nonconforming participants (p < 0.001; partial eta squared = 0.01), and sexual minorities (p < 0.001; partial eta squared = 0.02) tended to experience worse mental health outcomes compared to cisgender men and heterosexuals. Race (p = 0.18) and ethnicity (p = 0.11) were not related to mental health outcomes but moderated the relationship between experienced threat and aggression on anxiety, such that BIPOC participants who faced increased discrimination in the general population (R squared = 0.03, p < 0. 001; interaction p = 0.03) and among other vegans (R squared < 0.01, p < 0. 01; interaction p = 0.02) experienced increased anxiety. Aim 3. BIPOC participants, especially Black participants, were more likely to experience discrimination and stereotype confirmation concerns, though it appears as though these experiences are less pronounced in interactions with other vegans compared to the general population (all ps < 0.001). Gender and sexual orientation interact with race to influence experiences with discrimination/stereotype threat. Race did not impact mental health outcomes, but experiences with discrimination/stereotype confirmation concerns accounted for a significant amount of the variance in negative mental health, with experiences interacting with the general public accounting for a greater amount of the variance in depression, anxiety, and stress, compared to from the vegan community (R squared = 0.04 vs R squared = 0.02). Discussion. Findings provide preliminary evidence that vegans are a diverse group of individuals. A failure to account for the diversity of the vegan community may explain the previously mixed findings on mental health in vegans. Identity features interact to influence faced discrimination and stereotype threat, and these experiences accounted for worse mental health outcomes in BIPOC vegans. Despite discrimination and stereotype threat being less extreme when interacting with vegans compared to the general population, it still is related to worse mental health outcomes in BIPOC vegans. Advocacy organizations and White vegans more broadly must consider the way in which racism continues to impact their fellow vegans and their work.

Included in

Psychology Commons