Associations of adverse childhood experiences with internalized weight stigma.

Associations of adverse childhood experiences with internalized weight stigma.

Source publication
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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may be an early life factor associated with adult weight stigma via biological (e.g., stress response), cognitive (e.g., self-criticism/deprecation), and/or emotional (e.g., shame) mechanisms. This pilot study investigated relationships between ACEs and internalized and experienced weight stigma in adult women w...

Contexts in source publication

Context 1
... a higher number of ACEs was significantly associated with higher WBIS-M scores (β = 0.40, p = 0.006), and ACE score explained 14.6% of the variance in WBIS-M scores. Of the three covariates, only age was found to be significantly associated with WBIS-M scores (β = 0.37, p = 0.008), suggesting that younger individuals report a greater degree of IWS (see Table 2). ...
Context 2
... the three ACE-type subscales explained 26.5% of the variance in WBIS-M scores. However, the Abuse subscale was the only ACE type to be uniquely and significantly associated with WBIS-M scores These results indicate that individuals who experience abuse-type ACEs and younger individuals reported higher levels of IWS (see Table 2). ...


... Crucially, for cisgender women of a higher body weights, averse childhood experiences have been found to be positively associated with greater internalisation of weight stigma (Keirns, Tsotsoros et al. 2021). Adverse childhood experiences may be an early life factor that increases vulnerability to adult weight stigma through biological (e.g., stress response), social (e.g., attachment insecurity, fear of negative evaluation, social anxiety), cognitive (e.g., self-criticism/depreciation, early maladaptive schemas, poor concept of self), and/or emotional (e.g., shame, lack of self-compassion, emotional dysregulation) mechanisms. ...
Conference Paper
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Weight-stigma and internalised weight-stigma are risks for EDs and suicidality. Suicidal ideation in current and lifetime EDs is directly and indirectly effected by perceived-burdensomeness. Similarly, research has linked weight-based discrimination with perceived-burdensomeness and increased suicidal ideation. Weight self-stigma has been linked with weight change, indicating the negative effects of weight self-stigma, and emphasising the central role of fear of being stigmatised by others in this process. Self-discrepancy and negative self-schemas may also include fear of an imagined fat/larger self, or fear of returning to a larger/fat body weight. Considering these factors in the relationship between weight stigma, fear of fatness, and disordered eating, it may be that fear-of-fatness and perceived burdensomeness in EDs more closely align with fear of weight-based discrimination. Pervasive, systemic devaluation of individuals in fat/larger bodies may foster internalised beliefs that one is worthless or a burden on society that praises thinness, dehumanises, pathologizes, and positions larger bodies as a moral/personal failure. This may compound minority stress and weight bias internalisation for those who face intersectional oppressions and experiences of their bodies and identities as a marginalised other. Fear of additional (weight-based) marginalisation may influence ED vulnerability for certain populations, including those who may experience intersectional marginalisation, and those in larger bodies. Insecure attachment, social anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation are also highly prevalent in EDs. It may be that these factors relate to increased awareness of the threat of weight-based marginalisation and therefore, heighten ED risk. This paper will explore the literature on ‘fear of fatness’, ‘feeling fat’, and negative ‘fat talk’ in EDs as related to internalised weight stigma, marginalisation (i.e., race/ethnicity, genders, sexualities, disability), perceived burdensomeness, and fear of stigmatisation. It will argue for the consideration of ‘fear of fatness’ and ‘feeling fat’ as central to ED within a broader context of body politics, weight-based discrimination and disordered eating as a means of coping with fear of (further) social discrimination.