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Take part in our study focusing on sources of weight stigma and its impact

We are investigating the sources and prevalence of weight stigma experienced by young women and how it impacts their behaviours.

Research background

Find out what's involved.

Health professionals, family members and strangers have been identified as key sources of stigma for individuals who are overweight and obese, however, with an increasingly online world, sources of stigma may be more widespread (e.g., social media).

Experiences of weight stigma have been shown to contribute to negative physical, psychological, and behavioural health outcomes. It can lead to individuals avoiding positive health behaviours like seeking health advice or utilising health facilities from a fear of being stigmatised and internalising attitudes. Research has shown weight stigma can also impact eating habits for some individuals.

It is important to understand the nuances in how various types of weight stigma changes across different weight categories and for whom. If we are to reduce weight stigma at the population level, we need to understand the complex interplay between the various sources of weight stigma and bias that have negative impacts on individuals and populations.

What’s involved in the study

The study involves completing a voluntary online survey, which should take between 10 to 15 minutes to complete. This can be completed anonymously.

The survey will ask questions on demographics, including your height, weight and perceived weight status. A short self-esteem measure is also included. The survey will also ask about situations where you may have experienced weight stigma, coping strategies utilised and sources of that stigma. Additionally, there are questions related to social media usage and attitudes you may hold regarding weight stigma.

There is a chance to provide contact details at the end of the survey for interviews. This would involve a 30-45 minute interview related to experiences of weight stigma.

Woman sitting on bed working on laptop

What you'll get for taking part

Participation in the survey is completely voluntary.

There is an additional interview study being conducted where participants can sign up to participate in a 30-45 minute interview. Participants will be receive a £10 gift voucher for their time given to the interview.

Participant eligibility

You will be able to take part if you:

  • identify as female
  • currently live in the UK
  • are aged between 18 - 35

Exclusion criteria

You will not be able to take part if you:

  • identify as male
  • are aged under 18 or over 35
  • aren't currently living in the UK
  • cannot read, write or understand written English
  • do not have capacity to provide informed consent
  • do not have access to an electronic device in order to complete the survey

Your data

All data collected during the project including personal, identifiable data will be treated as confidential and kept in an encrypted folder on the University's secure server that is only accessible by the research team. The storage of data will be done in accordance with current UK data protection laws.

All collected data will be pseudoanonymised, with any identifiable information (such as email addresses and telephone numbers collected at the end of the survey from participants willing to be interviewed) removed and stored in a separate encrypted file to the main pseudoanonymised dataset e.g. survey data/ transcripts. Participants will be identified using a numerical identification number, allowing the anonymised survey data to be matched with identifiable data.

This study has relevant ethical approval.1

How to get involved

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1 This project has been given a favourable opinion by the University of Bath, Psychology Research Ethics Committee (PREC) [reference: 23-067].