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Keywords:

  • obesity;
  • stigma;
  • addiction;
  • binge eating

Abstract

Objective:

Weight disorders and overeating are increasingly labeled as addictions. It is important to identify the consequences of this label on the stigmatization of obesity.

Method:

Participants (N = 374) were assigned randomly to one of six conditions, in which they read a scenario about an obese woman either with or without binge eating, followed by an account of the cause of her obesity as psychological, a biological addiction, or ambiguous. Participants then completed questionnaires designed to assess stigma and prognostic beliefs.

Results:

Participants in the obesity with binge eating condition rated obese persons more negatively and as having a worse prognosis. The causal manipulation check revealed no difference between groups and there were no significant effects of this condition.

Discussion:

Behavior (binge eating) has important implications for understanding the stigmatization of obesity. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009