Positive and Negative Appearance-Related Feedback and Weight Status

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Verbal Commentary on Physical Appearance Scale (VCOPAS), teasing, self-esteem, obesity

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Previous reports have well documented that many overweight and obese individuals experience negative appearance-related commentary regarding their weight status. In the current study, both negative and positive comments were assessed using a new scale (Verbal Commentary on Physical Appearance Scale) within four weight categories (underweight, average weight, overweight and obese) in 246 women. The results indicated that overweight and obese participants received less positive weight-related comments than average and underweight individuals, but there were no group differences in the level of positive non-weight-related comments (i.e., other aspects of appearance). Correlational analyses indicated that less negative and more positive feedback were associated with higher self-esteem for average weight individuals, whereas for the combined overweight and obese sample, higher scores on both positive subscales were associated with higher self-esteem. The findings offer the first empirical evidence regarding the relative levels of negative and positive appearance feedback reported by individuals of different weight categories and their relations with overall self-esteem.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Eating and Weight Disorders, v. 14, issue 4, p. 234-236