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Sticks and stones: the association between weight discrimination and mental and physical well-being

Meadows, Angela (2014) Sticks and stones: the association between weight discrimination and mental and physical well-being. In: University of Birmingham Graduate School Research Poster Conference 2014, 10th June 2014, University of Birmingham. (Unpublished)

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Obese individuals face increasing levels of prejudice and discrimination. In addition, some individuals internalise society’s anti-fat attitudes and stereotypes. Both internalised and societal stigmas have been associated with poorer health outcomes, independent of BMI.

In this online study, 379 overweight or obese adults (88% female, average age 37.6 years, average BMI 36.8) from social media sites related to health, fitness, weight-loss, and plus-size fashion completed online questionnaires about stigma and health outcomes.

Nasty comments from family, friends, co-workers or total strangers were the most common form of stigma, but over 80% had received inappropriate comments from doctors, and over one in four had experienced weight-based discrimination in an employment setting. More than one in ten had been physically attacked because of their weight, some more than once. Women experienced significantly more stigma than men, even after controlling for BMI. Both experienced and internalised stigma were associated with more disordered eating behaviours, poorer self-esteem, worse body image, and a greater restriction on public activities such as exercising: however, the effects of internalisation appear to be even greater than those of actual stigma experiences.

Focusing future interventions on reducing internalisation of ubiquitous anti-fat messages may improve health outcomes in overweight individuals.

Type of Work:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Psychology
Additional Information:

Research Supervisor: Suzanne Higgs

Date:June 2014
Series/Collection Name:Prizewinners from the Graduate School Research Poster Conference 2014
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Q Science > QP Physiology
Related URLs:
Copyright Status:This poster is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this poster must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged.
Copyright Holders:The Author
ID Code:1910

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