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Body Image. 2007 Sep;4(3):309-16. Epub 2007 Jun 19.

Experimental effects of receiving negative weight-related feedback: a weight guessing study.

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Department of Psychology, Behavioural Sciences Building, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3.


The effects of receiving negative verbal weight-related feedback on the mood, self-esteem, and body image of restrained and unrestrained eaters were investigated. Female undergraduate students either reported their current weight (no feedback) or had their weight guessed as 15 lb higher than their actual weight (negative feedback) by an experimenter who presented herself as either an undergraduate (peer) or graduate student (non-peer). Participants overall had higher anxiety and felt "fatter" in the negative feedback condition. When this feedback came from a peer they felt fatter, more dissatisfied with their bodies, and, for restrained eaters, more depressed, as compared to when it came from a non-peer. These results provide empirical evidence that negative weight-related feedback produces adverse psychological consequences for young women, especially restrained eaters, and suggest the importance of peers' perceptions of weight.

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