OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Examining the Relationship between Perceived Weight Stigma and Unhealthy Eating Behavior


Fear and stigmatization are often used as motivators for individuals to lose weight or eat healthfully. However, this strategy has been shown to be counterproductive and can lead individuals to actually gain weight. In the present study, we examined the relationship between weight-based stigmatization, fear of fat (FoF), perceived control, and eating behavior in a diverse undergraduate sample (N=647, 69.2% Latina/o, 74.8 % Female). Results showed that perceptions of weight stigma were associated with increased binge eating (b=2.67, p<.001), restrained eating (b=.15, p<.01), and emotional eating (b=.28, p<.01). FoF and perceived control were found to be significant mediators of these relationships. These findings have important implications for our understanding of weight stigma and its consequences for eating behavior. The current research would suggest that campaigns which stigmatize individuals may be counterproductive.

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