The Stickiness of Weight Stigma: An Examination of Residual Weight Stigma, Stigma Targets, and Willingness to Date.
This research examined the stickiness of stigma related to being overweight and dating. Three
studies explored whether residual weight stigma exists by comparing being overweight to
other stigmatized conditions. The first study showed little evidence that overweight was a
stigmatizing condition, with participants showing similarities in willingness to date someone
who is overweight compared to other physical or medical conditions.
There was partial support in the second study for the prediction that overweight was a stigmatizing condition in comparison to conditions related to physical appearance. The third study indicated that there was a tendency for participants to attribute greater personal responsibility for the overweight condition compared to other stigmatized conditions. Taken together, the results provided little evidence for residual stigma associated with the overweight condition and dating preferences.
Stigma directed at individuals who are obese is pervasive and harmful, leading to prejudice and discrimination in employment, healthcare, and education. Experiencing weight bias negatively affects one’s mental and physical health and increases mortality risk.
Residual stigma is a relatively new concept. Therefore, in the current set of studies, we sought to expand the literature regarding residual stigma in relation to weight, or the stickiness of weight stigma. For our first study, we sought to examine if weight stigma still resides, or sticks, after one has lost the weight, specifically in the area of dating.
Soc Behav Res Pract Open J. 2017; 2(1): 18-26. doi: 10.17140/SBRPOJ-2-108