University Study Finds Adverse Psychological Effects for Women Who Work in “Breastaurants”

A new study led by Dawn Szymanski, a professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee, has determined that women who work in restaurants that require the wait staff to wear revealing outfits, are at higher risk for anxiety and eating disorders. The study also found that women who work at these restaurants feel they have less power and control at work than other women in the workforce.

Professor Szymanski dubs these establishments “breastaurants,” because the wait staff must wear uniforms that are revealing. She cites examples of these establishments as Hooters and Twin Peaks. Researchers interviewed a large group of women who worked at these restaurants and found that nearly half were college students.

“These findings underscore the need to implement both system-level and individual-level interventions to combat the existence of sexually objectifying restaurant environments and the negative effects they may have on women who work in the industry,” the study states.

Dr. Szymanski adds that “we want the public to use this data in personal decisions about whether to support or not support these types of restaurants.”

Professor Szymanski is a graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia, where she double majored in psychology and sociology. She earned a master’s degree at Indiana State University and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Georgia State University.

The study, “Sexually Objectifying Environments: Power, Rumination, and Waitresses’ Anxiety and Disordered Eating,” was published on the website of the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly. It may be accessed here.

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