Exposure to Weight-Stigmatizing Media: Effects on Exercise Intentions, Motivation, and Behavior.
This study aimed to evaluate the impact of exposure to weight-stigmatizing media on exercise intentions, motivation, and behavior, as well as to examine the interaction between this exposure and past experiences with weight stigma. A community sample of 72 women were randomly assigned to view a brief weight-stigmatizing or neutral video. Participants' choice of taking the stairs versus the elevator was observed before they completed measures of exercise intentions, motivation, and behavior; psychological well-being; and experiences with weight stigma. A follow-up survey was sent to participants 1 week later that assessed exercise behavior and intentions. Frequency of past weight stigma correlated with worse psychological well-being and more controlled (versus autonomous) exercise motivation. Significant interactions were found between past weight-stigmatizing experiences and exposure to the weight-stigmatizing video for outcomes of exercise intentions, behavior, and drive for thinness. Participants in the stigma condition with higher frequency of past experiences reported greater exercise intentions and behavior, along with higher drive for thinness. Past experiences of weight stigma interact with exposure to weight-stigmatizing media to increase exercise intentions and behavior, although this effect is accompanied by a heightened drive for thinness that may increase risk for long-term negative health consequences.
Pearl, RL; Dovidio, JF; Puhl, RM; Brownell, KD
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