Working at ‘breastaurants’ may cause anxiety in waitresses, finds study

Working at ‘breastaurants’ may cause anxiety in waitresses, finds study

When one visits a restaurant one is often greeted and looked after by waiters, male and female, who are a common sight irrespective across most eating places. Waitressing jobs are common in the U.S. among professionals and students, who often pick up these jobs to pay through college. Apart from college students even those struggling to make a living only manage to pay their bills by putting on a uniform and taking orders for drinks or dinner. The latest figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), indicate that roughly 2.4 million Americans work as waiters and waitresses in any given year.

This profession, however, comes at a risk of severe psychological problems for women. A group of researchers in a new study titled “Sexually objectifying environments: Power, rumination and waitresses’ anxiety and disordered eating” have suggested that women working in restaurants or bars may experience increased anxiety levels or develop eating disorders if they are required to display considerable cleavage or don revealing uniforms. Female respondents working in restaurants nicknamed “breastaurants” revealed that they felt as if they had less power in their hands, in addition to a lack of control, owing to the nature of their uniforms. The research was recently published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly.

Evaluating comfort level of waitresses in America

The researchers observed 252 women who had been serving at tables in restaurants across the U.S. About 49 percent of the participants were college students. The respondents were required to answer questions aimed at getting an idea as to what extent their workplace encouraged sexual objectification. The participants answered in response to statements such as “Female waitresses are encouraged to wear sexually revealing clothing” and “Male customers stare at female servers.” They were required to rate their responses on a scale of one (strongly disagree) to seven (strongly agree).

The respondents also answered questions regarding their view of sexism in the manner the owners ran their restaurants; the extent of “personal power” they realized during the job process and the manner and extent to which they contemplated about these work-related issues. The researchers measured their level of anxiety by observing if they felt “nervous, anxious or on edge” or if they could not stop ruminating about their job requirements. Responses revealed that disordered eating was the most common problem they faced as the women feared becoming overweight.

The observations indicated that waitresses employed in “sexually objectifying environments” were at a greater risk of living with disorders pertaining to anxiousness and eating habits. The fact that these women perceived themselves as having “less organizational and personal power” during the course of the job resulted in them worrying about work environments. Disempowering women can adversely affect their mental health conditions as they find it increasingly difficult to cope with emotional issues, study authors said.

Elucidating the observations, study co-authors Dawn Szymanski and Renee Mikorski, psychologists from the University of Tennessee, wrote, “Our findings provide empirical evidence for previous descriptive and anecdotal accounts related to (the hazards of working in such an environment).”

A number of “breastaurants” are springing up across the nation. It is raising the risk of negative emotional health of female workers, considering these restaurants can heighten the potential risk of women being prone to unwarranted psychological illnesses.

Treating anxiety disorders

No particular reason can be attributed to sudden bouts of anxiousness in most cases. But constant mental fatigue, stress, worrying or eating disorders can result in some people suffering from problems related to acute anxiety, identified as anxiety disorders by clinicians.

If you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety problems and would like to consult a mental health expert for anxiety disorder treatment in Los Angeles, Sovereign Health, a leading mental health care provider can help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with one of our experts to know about our anxiety disorder treatment centers in Los Angeles and other parts of the U.S.

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