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It’s Not You, It’s Me: Self-Perceptions, Antifat Attitudes, and Stereotyping of Obese Individuals


Much research focuses on the formation of antifat attitudes, but an understanding of antifat bias is incomplete without incorporating self-perceptions. We tested a model in which self-perceptions influenced stereotyping of the same target shown as obese versus thin via antifat attitudes. Participants rated six targets, two of which were the same individual before and after weight loss. Questionnaires assessed participants’ self-perceptions and antifat bias. Multiple group path analysis indicated participants’ body mass index positively predicted greater perceived body size in men and women, though the relationship was stronger for women. Greater perceived body size predicted decreased antifat attitudes, while greater body shame and beliefs about personal control predicted increased antifat attitudes. Antifat attitudes predicted greater negative stereotyping of the target when shown as obese relative to thin. These findings point toward the importance of self-perception in the stigmatization of others and the need to include self-acceptance in weight-bias interventions.

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