Studies on Weight Stigma and Body Image in Higher-Weight Individuals

  • Angela Meadows
  • Rachel M. Calogero


Weight stigma is a form of social stigma that primarily targets higher-weight individuals in virtually every domain of daily living, and it is becoming the norm worldwide. In this chapter, we present an overview of the research linking weight stigma and body image, drawing upon evidence from cross-sectional, experimental, longitudinal, and intervention studies. We begin with a summary of two forms of target-directed weight stigma that constitute the focus of this chapter—experienced and internalized weight stigma, and their general correlates. Then we review, in turn, the evidence for the roles of experienced and internalized weight stigma in body image and eating disorder-related pathology. We then briefly review the small literature on ethnic and cultural differences in experienced and internalized weight stigma as they relate to body image. We conclude with a consideration of the gaps in the scientific literature and make several recommendations for future research that would help to close those gaps. A critical take-home message from this review is that the multiple injurious effects of weight stigma on body image and beyond are incontrovertible, but very little has been done to address it. In our final note, we recognize the need for body image and eating disorders scholars and practitioners to become part of the solution to ending weight bias in our communities and for our clients.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Meadows
    • 1
  • Rachel M. Calogero
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Psychology, University of ExeterExeterUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWestern UniversityLondonCanada

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