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Gender Comparisons of Fat Talk in the United Kingdom and the United States

Abstract

This study compared different forms of body talk, including “fat talk,” among 231 university men and women in central England (UK; n = 93) and the southeastern United States (US; n = 138). A 2 (gender) by 2 (country) repeated measures ANOVA across types of body talk (negative, self-accepting, positive) and additional Chi-square analyses revealed that there were differences across gender and between the UK and US cultures. Specifically, UK and US women were more likely to report frequently hearing or perceiving pressure to engage in fat talk than men. US women and men were also more likely to report pressure to join in self-accepting body talk than UK women and men.

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Acknowledgements

The first author received funding support from an International Student Research Grant within the Office of Student Research, the Graduate Student Association Senate, and the Wiley Smith Family, all administered through Appalachian State University. We thank these groups for their longstanding and generous support of student research. Aside from funding support, these groups had no involvement in any part of this publication.

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Correspondence to Denise M. Martz.

Appendix

Appendix

Fat Talk Scenario
Imagine you are in a group of friends/coworkers who were saying negative things about their bodies (For example, “My butt is fat”).
  How likely would this scenario occur in your life?
Never Sometimes Usually Frequently Very Frequently
1 2 3 4 5
  How much pressure would you feel to say negative things about your body in this group?
None Maybe Some Some A Lot Extreme
1 2 3 4 5
Self-accepting Scenario
Imagine you are in a group of friends/coworkers who were saying self-accepting things about their bodies (For example, “I feel okay about my body”).
  How likely would this scenario occur in your life?
Never Sometimes Usually Frequently Very Frequently
1 2 3 4 5
  How much pressure would you feel to say self-accepting things about your body in this group?
None Maybe Some Some A Lot Extreme
1 2 3 4 5
Positive Scenario
Imagine you are in a group of friends/coworkers who were saying positive things about their bodies (For example, “I really like my body”).
  How likely would this scenario occur in your life?
Never Sometimes Usually Frequently Very Frequently
1 2 3 4 5
  How much pressure would you feel to say positive things about your body in this group?
None Maybe Some Some A Lot Extreme
1 2 3 4 5

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Payne, L.O., Martz, D.M., Tompkins, K.B. et al. Gender Comparisons of Fat Talk in the United Kingdom and the United States. Sex Roles 65, 557–565 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-010-9881-4

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Keywords

  • Fat talk
  • Self-accepting and positive body talk
  • Gender
  • Cross-cultural comparisons