An attitude of gratitude: The effects of body-focused gratitude on weight bias internalization and body image

Body Image. 2018 Jun;25:9-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.01.006. Epub 2018 Feb 8.


Internalized weight bias and body dissatisfaction are associated with a number of negative psychological and physical health outcomes. The current study examined the effectiveness of body-focused gratitude, through a short writing exercise, as a strategy to reduce internalized weight bias and improve body image. Young adults (Mage = 22.71, SD = 2.08, 51.2% female) were randomly assigned to either a body gratitude condition (n = 185) or a control condition (n = 184). Results indicated that participants in the gratitude condition reported significantly lower weight bias internalization and significantly more favorable appearance evaluation and greater body satisfaction when compared to the control condition. These effects were in the small range (ds = 0.27-0.33), and neither gender nor BMI moderated these effects. These findings provide preliminary support for body-focused gratitude writing exercises as an effective individual-level strategy for both reducing internalized weight bias and improving body image.

Keywords: Appearance evaluation; Body satisfaction; Gratitude; Weight bias internalization; Writing exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult