The phenomenology of weight stigma in everyday life

Lenny R. Vartanian, Rebecca T. Pinkus, Joshua M. Smyth

The present study examined the phenomenology of weight stigma in people׳s everyday lives. Participants were 46 community adults who took part in an ecological momentary assessment study of their experiences with weight stigma. Over a two-week period, participants completed a brief survey following each experience with weight stigma in which they reported on the contextual factors related to the stigma episode, including the source of the stigma and where the stigma episode took place. Participants also reported their positive and negative affect following the stigma episode. On average, participants experienced 11.12 episodes of weight stigma over the two-week period. Stigma was most often expressed by strangers, spouses, friends, parents, and the media. Furthermore, stigma occurred frequently at home as well as in public places. Stigma from strangers was associated with more negative affect compared to stigma from spouses, the media, and (to some degree) friends. These findings provide important information about the phenomenology of weight stigma in daily life, which can have implications for efforts to reduce the occurrence of weight stigma as well as efforts to reduce the negative impact of stigma experiences.

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