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J Behav Med. 2013 Feb;36(1):86-94. doi: 10.1007/s10865-012-9402-8. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Internalized weight bias: ratings of the self, normal weight, and obese individuals and psychological maladjustment.

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Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA.


Current measures of internalized weight bias assess factors such as responsibility for weight status, mistreatment because of weight, etc. A potential complementary approach for assessing internalized weight bias is to examine the correspondence between individuals' ratings of obese people, normal weight people, and themselves on personality traits. This investigation examined the relationships among different measures of internalized weight bias, as well as the association between those measures and psychosocial maladjustment. Prior to the beginning of a weight loss intervention, 62 overweight/obese adults completed measures of explicit and internalized weight bias as well as body image, binge eating, and depression. Discrepancies between participants' ratings of obese people in general and ratings of themselves on both positive and negative traits predicted unique variance in measures of maladjustment above a traditional assessment of internalized weight bias. This novel approach to measuring internalized weight bias provides information above and beyond traditional measures of internalized weight bias and begins to provide insights into social comparison processes involved in weight bias.

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