Towards a sociocultural model of weight stigma

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Eating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity


Purpose: Weight stigma is pervasive and is associated with numerous physical and psychological health consequences, including decreased body satisfaction. Understanding of contributing factors to weight stigma remains limited, although researchers have consistently documented the connection between weight controllability beliefs and weight stigma. Sociocultural factors, including thin-ideal internalization and related social-cognitive correlates, are in the nascent stages of exploration to further our understanding of weight stigma. Methods: In this study, we tested an emerging sociocultural model of weight stigma, examining the influence of thin-ideal internalization and appearance-related comparisons on weight stigma, statistically controlling for weight controllability beliefs and accounting for thin-ideal environmental influences. Participants were 137 MTurk workers living in the United States. Results: We found that increased thin-ideal information was associated with thin-ideal internalization, which in turn was related to both upward and downward appearance-related comparison tendencies. These comparisons were then significantly related to weight stigma, controlling for weight controllability beliefs. There were significant indirect effects of both upward and downward appearance-related comparison tendencies on the relation between thin-ideal internalization and weight stigma. Conclusion: These results extend limited prior research examining the association between the thin-ideal and appearance-related comparisons with weight stigma, and contribute to a more nuanced understanding of this complex phenomenon. Level of evidence: Level V, cross-sectional study.


Psychological Science

Volume Number


Issue Number


First Page


Last Page




This document is currently not available here.