Self-stigma and weight loss: The impact of fear of being stigmatized

J Health Psychol. 2020 Jun;25(7):922-930. doi: 10.1177/1359105317739101. Epub 2017 Nov 6.


This study sought to examine whether two facets of weight self-stigma (fear of enacted stigma and self-devaluation) were associated with weight change and treatment engagement for 188 individuals participating in a 3-month online weight loss program. Fear of enacted stigma predicted less weight loss 3 months later after controlling for demographics, eating problems, and psychological symptoms. Self-devaluation did not predict weight loss. Neither weight self-stigma variable predicted engagement in the online program. These results add to the literature indicating the negative effects of weight self-stigma while highlighting the central role of fear of being stigmatized by others in this process.

Trial registration: NCT02156752.

Keywords: obesity; overweight; stigma; stigmatization; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Fear
  • Humans
  • Obesity*
  • Social Stigma
  • Weight Loss*

Associated data