Is Obesity Stigma Based on Perceptions of Appearance or Character? Theory, Evidence, and Directions for Further Study

Florian van Leeuwen, David Francis Hunt, Justin H. Park*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Theoretical approaches to stigmatization have highlighted distinct psychological mechanisms underlying distinct instances of stigmatization. Some stigmas are based on inferences of substandard psychological character (e.g., individuals deemed untrustworthy), whereas others are based on perceptions of substandard physical appearance (e.g., individuals with physical deformities). These inferences and perceptions are associated with specific cognitive and motivational processes, which have implications for understanding specific instances of stigmatization. Recent theoretical approaches and empirical findings suggest that obesity stigma involves both inferences of substandard psychological character and perceptions of substandard physical appearance. We provide a review of the relevant evidence and discuss directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • obesity stigma
  • pathogen avoidance
  • prejudice
  • stigmatization
  • attribution
  • ANTI-FAT PREJUDICE
  • DISGUST
  • DISEASE
  • STIGMATIZATION
  • ATTITUDES
  • WEIGHT
  • BIAS
  • DISCRIMINATION

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