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Abstract

This research examines whether acceptance messages from close others about one's weight predict changes in stressful weight concern and body mass index (BMI) over time. Participants reported weight concern and BMI in three waves of data collection spanning approximately 9 months, and reported the messages they received from parents, friends, and romantic partners concerning their weight in the second wave of data collection. Participants normatively gained weight during the study period. But for vulnerable women, those initially high in weight concern, receiving fewer acceptance messages about weight was associated with weight gain, whereas receiving more acceptance messages was associated with decreases in stressful weight concern and weight maintenance, or even loss, over time. Alternative predictors, mechanisms, and models were also tested.