Internalized weight stigma and the relationship between weight perception and negative body-related self-conscious emotions.

Affiliation

Lucibello KM(1), Nesbitt AE(2), Solomon-Krakus S(3), Sabiston CM(4).
Author information:
(1)Department of Kinesiology, University of Toronto, 55 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2W6, Canada.
(2)Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, 500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1V7, Canada.
(3)Department of Psychological Clinical Science, University of Toronto Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario, M1C 1A4, Canada.
(4)Department of Kinesiology, University of Toronto, 55 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2W6, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Individuals who perceive themselves as "overweight" experience higher negative body-related self-conscious emotions than those who do not. Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests internalized weight stigma may be an important mediator of the relationship between weight perception and self-conscious emotions. Overcoming common measurement limitations and sampling limitations, the present study investigated whether gender moderates the associations among weight perceptions, internalized weight stigma, and negative body-related self-conscious emotions in 104 young adults (64 % women). Individuals who perceived themselves as too heavy (52 %) experienced higher body-related shame and guilt compared to those who perceived themselves as about right. Internalized weight stigma mediated these associations in women but not men, such that perceiving oneself as too heavy was associated with higher internalized weight stigma, which was associated with higher body-related shame and guilt in women. Results underscore the importance of internalized weight stigma as a potential target for intervention among women of diverse weight statuses who are prone to experiencing body-related shame and guilt.