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The Countervailing Effects of Weight Stigma on Weight-Loss Motivation and Perceived Capacity for Weight Control.

Authors
  • Major, Brenda1
  • Rathbone, Joanne A2
  • Blodorn, Alison1
  • Hunger, Jeffrey M3
  • 1 University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
  • 2 The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 3 Miami University, Oxford, OH, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Personality & social psychology bulletin
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2020
Volume
46
Issue
9
Pages
1331–1343
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/0146167220903184
PMID: 32046597
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

We hypothesized that exposure to weight stigma simultaneously increases motivation to lose or avoid gaining weight to avoid future stigma and decreases perceived capacity to do so, by heightening concerns about experiencing stigma and negative affect. Study 1 showed that more frequently experiencing weight-based discrimination was associated with greater concerns about being a victim of weight stigma, which predicted increased motivation to lose weight but decreased perceived capacity for weight control. Study 2 showed that participants randomly assigned to view a weight-stigmatizing (vs. control) message showed increased concerns about being a target of weight stigma, which indirectly increased motivation to lose weight and decreased state self-control. These, in turn, predicted increased willingness to engage in unhealthy weight-loss behaviors and decreased perceived capacity for weight control, respectively. Study 3 showed that increased motivation to avoid stigma and increased negative affect mediate these effects of exposure to weight stigma.

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