An exploratory examination of internalized weight stigma in a sample living with food insecurity

Carolyn Black Becker, Keesha Middlemas, Francesca Gomez, Lisa Smith Kilpela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Internalized weight stigma (IWS) is associated with various health concerns, regardless of body size. One weakness of existing IWS research is that it largely lacks diverse study populations. One recent exception, however, found increasing IWS was associated with higher levels of food insecurity (FI) in a low-income, majority Latinx sample. Using the same sample (N = 530), the present study further explored levels of IWS as compared to documented (mostly White/European) samples; we also investigated IWS in relation to three dichotomous eating disorder (ED) outcomes (e.g., any/no vomiting). Finally, based on previous qualitative findings regarding dietary restraint in the most severe level of FI, we explored the independent contribution of dietary restraint and IWS to cross-sectional risk of ED pathology. Results indicated that individuals living with FI experience IWS at concerning levels. Additionally, IWS played a small yet significant role in cross-sectional risk for ED pathology regardless of FI severity, while dietary restraint contributed to independent risk only in those with the most severe FI. Findings suggest that IWS is prevalent in this marginalized population, associated with ED pathology, and that the effect of dietary restraint on risk for ED pathology appears to uniquely impact those living with severe FI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-245
Number of pages8
JournalBody Image
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Dietary restraint
  • Disordered eating
  • Food insecurity
  • Marginalized population
  • Weight stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology


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