Fat Talk Among College Women is Both Contagious and Harmful

Fat Talk Among College Women is Both Contagious and Harmful Fat talk is a social phenomenon during which women speak negatively with each other about the size/shape of their bodies (Nichter and Vuckovich 1994). In this study, exposure to fat talk from peers was experimentally manipulated to determine the effect of hearing fat talk on a woman’s own likelihood of engaging in fat talk and on state body dissatisfaction, guilt, and sadness. Undergraduate women (n = 87; all of a healthy weight) from a Midwestern university in the United States participated in a study ostensibly about discussing magazine advertisements. Two female confederates were present for the discussion. While discussing an advertisement featuring an attractive and thin female model, participants either heard both confederates engage in fat talk, neither confederate engage in fat talk, or the first engage in fat talk and the second challenge the fat talk. Hearing a confederate fat talk made the participants more likely to fat talk themselves (especially if the fat talk went unchallenged) and increased participants’ self-reported state body dissatisfaction and guilt. Participants who engaged in fat talk reported higher levels of self-reported state body dissatisfaction and guilt, compared to participants who did not engage in fat talk (even when controlling for pre-existing trait body dissatisfaction). Participant fat talk mediated the effect of condition on both state body dissatisfaction and guilt. Additionally, correlational analyses revealed that participants with higher levels of trait body dissatisfaction (assessed at a pre-test) were more likely to engage in fat talk (regardless of condition). http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

Fat Talk Among College Women is Both Contagious and Harmful

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Psychology; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general; Gender Studies
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11199-011-0050-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Fat talk is a social phenomenon during which women speak negatively with each other about the size/shape of their bodies (Nichter and Vuckovich 1994). In this study, exposure to fat talk from peers was experimentally manipulated to determine the effect of hearing fat talk on a woman’s own likelihood of engaging in fat talk and on state body dissatisfaction, guilt, and sadness. Undergraduate women (n = 87; all of a healthy weight) from a Midwestern university in the United States participated in a study ostensibly about discussing magazine advertisements. Two female confederates were present for the discussion. While discussing an advertisement featuring an attractive and thin female model, participants either heard both confederates engage in fat talk, neither confederate engage in fat talk, or the first engage in fat talk and the second challenge the fat talk. Hearing a confederate fat talk made the participants more likely to fat talk themselves (especially if the fat talk went unchallenged) and increased participants’ self-reported state body dissatisfaction and guilt. Participants who engaged in fat talk reported higher levels of self-reported state body dissatisfaction and guilt, compared to participants who did not engage in fat talk (even when controlling for pre-existing trait body dissatisfaction). Participant fat talk mediated the effect of condition on both state body dissatisfaction and guilt. Additionally, correlational analyses revealed that participants with higher levels of trait body dissatisfaction (assessed at a pre-test) were more likely to engage in fat talk (regardless of condition).

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 9, 2011

References

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