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Culture, Obesity Stereotypes, Self-Esteem, and the “Thin Ideal”: A Social Identity Perspective

Abstract

Recent concerns with the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adults indicate the need to better understand the psychosocial correlates of weight. We examined the relationships among negative stereotypes of obesity, “thin ideal” beliefs, perceptions of the causes of obesity and of control over weight, body esteem, and global self-esteem. A negative correlation between beliefs in control over one's weight and self-esteem was mediated by both negative attitudes toward obesity and thin idealization. Additionally, body esteem and gender were related but this relationship was mediated by beliefs in control over weight and valuation of the thin ideal. Central to the theoretical foundation of this research, however, was the observed negative correlation between negative attitudes toward obesity and self-esteem. This relationship was mediated primarily by the belief that obesity is caused by personality shortcomings. This last finding is explained from a social identity perspective.

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Correspondence to Paul A. Klaczynski.

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Klaczynski, P.A., Goold, K.W. & Mudry, J.J. Culture, Obesity Stereotypes, Self-Esteem, and the “Thin Ideal”: A Social Identity Perspective. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 33, 307–317 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOYO.0000032639.71472.19

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  • obesity stereotypes
  • social identity
  • thin idealization
  • personal control over weight