Fat phobia: measuring, understanding, and changing anti-fat attitudes

Int J Eat Disord. 1993 Dec;14(4):467-80. doi: 10.1002/1098-108x(199312)14:4<467::aid-eat2260140410>3.0.co;2-j.


We examined fat phobia, defined as a pathological fear of fatness, by constructing the Fat Phobia Scale, determining its reliability and validity, examining correlates of fat phobia, and using a treatment approach designed to decrease fat phobia. Study 1 describes the development of the Fat Phobia Scale, a 50-item, modified 5-point semantic differential scale. Subjects (974 females and 117 males) completed the scale; factor analysis yielded six factors. Respondents who are average weight, female, younger, have more than a high school education, or are nonmedical professionals are more likely to have fat phobic attitudes. Study 2 examines fat phobic attitudes of women (N = 40) who had negative feelings about their bodies. Subjects completed the Fat Phobia Scale before and after a treatment approach designed to reduce their feelings of responsibility for fatness. Total scores on the Fat Phobia Scale and scores on all six factors decreased significantly, indicating a decrease in fat phobia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude*
  • Body Image*
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Self Concept
  • Semantic Differential
  • Stereotyping