Personal experience with weight-based stigma is negatively associated with self-esteem (Myers & Rosen, 1999). Our study examines how self-esteem is affected by exposure to weight-based stigma communication that is directed at another person. Using Smith’s (2007) stigma communication framework, we created a 2 (Stigma level: high, low) x 2 (Gender of stigmatized person: male, female) x 2 (Body of stigmatized person: large, small) posttest-only experiment. Participants’ self-esteem was highest after seeing a small body subjected to intense stigma and lowest after seeing a large body subjected to intense stigma. Additionally, we observed three-way interactions affecting the perceptions of two stigma-communication message features: marking and linking to social peril. Our results suggest that perceptions about stigma communication vary by the stigma level and the stigma target’s attributes. Implications are discussed.
Malterud, Andie and Anderson, Jenn
"Weight-Based Stigma and Self-Esteem: A Test and Extension of the Stigma Communication Model,"
Discourse: The Journal of the SCASD: Vol. 3
, Article 4.
Available at: http://openprairie.sdstate.edu/discoursejournal/vol3/iss1/4