Ways of coping with obesity stigma: review and conceptual analysis

Eat Behav. 2003 Mar;4(1):53-78. doi: 10.1016/s1471-0153(02)00096-x.


There is clear documentation of bias and discrimination aimed at overweight persons, but less is known about methods individuals use to cope with weight stigma. This paper provides an analysis of such methods, integrating work on weight stigma with what is known from other relevant areas (e.g., race and gender bias). Multiple means of coping have been studied, ranging from attempts to change the stigmatizing condition (losing weight) to taking pride in the condition and mobilizing social action to prevent discrimination. The most promising areas for future research, methodological challenges, and the importance of individual difference and situational factors as moderating variables are discussed.