Vegetarians have lower self-esteem and are more likely to be upset than meat eaters, says research
Vegetarian Society disputed the findings, saying that when people adopt a veggie diet in line with their values they feel excited and positive about the contribution they make.
If you're a vegetarian, this may just be bad news for you. According to a research by SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poznan, Poland, vegetarians have lower self-esteem and are more likely to be upset. The study was conducted with over 400 people and they found that they experienced more negativity and were not as "psychologically well-adjusted" when compared to their meat-eating counterparts. The lead author of the study pointed out that it may not be their fault.
Lead author of the study Dr John Nezlek said, "Sometimes unwittingly, and sometimes intentionally, vegetarians may be excluded from social events or made to feel odd or different because they are vegetarians. Such things tend to happen for members of social minorities. Over time, such experiences can take their toll on a person’s wellbeing. We believe that this study is important because it is the first to show that defining one’s self as a vegetarian has implications for the quality of a person’s daily life."
The survey was conducted for over a period of 15 days and the participants had mixed eating habits ranging from vegetarian, semi-vegetarian and meat eating. Out of the three, it was the green eaters that felt the most miserable. Mail Online also reported that in another survey vegetarians scored the lower score when it came to self-esteem (4.62) when compared to non-vegetarians (5.33). The study also says that there is a higher chance of them being depressed.
The authors, who were from the College of William and Mary in Virginia implied that the cause for the unhappiness could be because of the fact that meat eaters perceive vegetarians as morally superior. "Given that many celebrities advocate some type of vegetarian diet, non-vegetarians may feel that vegetarians are “putting on airs” and that they are “too good” for non-vegetarians.’" For this study, 24 vegetarians participated, which also included some vegans. The comparison was done with 323 meat eaters and 56 semi-vegetarians. The study found that the vegetarians were more prone to feelings of stress and embarrassment and that they saw life as less meaningful.
A spokesman for the Vegetarian Society disputed the findings, saying, "What we see when people adopt a veggie diet in line with their values is they feel excited and positive about the contribution they are making."
The study appears in the journal Ecology of Food and Nutrition.