Article

Understanding fatness in the public sphere of young students: Social representations and emotional response

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This study examines how youth collectively represent fatness and determines the emotions it arouses. Understanding how fatness is socially constructed by young people is crucial to create programs that better deal with it. A free association exercise elicited by the word “fatness” was answered by 200 people of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (Spain), and the content was analyzed by its lexicon using Alceste software. The results showed that health-related representation of fatness was mostly descriptive, and it was not connected to risky or any emotional response. But fatness was also completely represented as a social pressure issue related to stigmatization and highly correlated with negative emotions, such as sadness, insecurity, embarrassment, anguish, lonesomeness, pity or anger. That is, risky and negative emotions were linked to social non-acceptance, and not with health problems. Thus, the conclusion is that fatness is transmitted from fear and not from a positive construction of the health.
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Cad. Saúde Pública 2018; 34(8):e00197917
Understanding fatness in the public sphere
of young students: social representations
and emotional response
Entendiendo la gordura en la esfera pública de
estudiantes jóvenes: representaciones sociales
y respuesta emocional
Entendendo a gordura no universo público
dos jovens: representações sociais e
resposta emocional
Nahia Idoiaga Mondragon 1
Maitane Belasko Txertudi 1
Abstract
This study examines how youth collectively represent fatness and determines
the emotions it arouses. Understanding how fatness is socially constructed by
young people is crucial to create programs that better deal with it. A free as-
sociation exercise elicited by the word “fatness” was answered by 200 people of
the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (Spain), and the content
was analyzed by its lexicon using Alceste software. The results showed that
health-related representation of fatness was mostly descriptive, and it was not
connected to risky or any emotional response. But fatness was also completely
represented as a social pressure issue related to stigmatization and highly cor-
related with negative emotions, such as sadness, insecurity, embarrassment,
anguish, lonesomeness, pity or anger. That is, risky and negative emotions
were linked to social non-acceptance, and not with health problems. Thus,
the conclusion is that fatness is transmitted from fear and not from a positive
construction of the health.
Emotions; Obesity; Body Weight; Young Adult
Correspondence
N. Idoiaga Mondragon
Departamento de Psicología Evolutiva y de la Educación, Euskal
Herriko Unibertsitatea, Universidad del País Vasco.
Barrio Sarriena s/n, Leioa 48940, España.
nahia.idoiaga@gmail.com
1 Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Universidad del País Vasco,
Leioa, España.
doi: 10.1590/0102-311X00197917
ARTIGO
ARTICLE
This article is published in Open Access under the Creative Commons
Attribution license, which allows use, distribution, and reproduction in
any medium, without restrictions, as long as the original work is correctly
cited.
Idoiaga Mondragon N, Belasko Txertudi M
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Cad. Saúde Pública 2018; 34(8):e00197917
The population overweight is one of the most important challenges of the 21
st
century
1
. In Western
society, obesity has become an unstoppable epidemic and has direct social implications. Therefore,
this is one of the most concerning issues, particularly among young people
1
. In this study we analyze
how they understand overweight in their everyday thinking, contributing to the state of the art on the
subject with a perspective that considers both emotional and social aspects involved.
This research investigates shared representations of overweight. From the perspective of social
representations, beyond scientific knowledge about an issue (overweight in our case), people under-
stand and share common ideas through social representations. The social representation of a specific
crisis is determined by historical events and contemporary symbols used to familiarize the threat and
transform it into everyday thinking
2,3
.
Previous research has pointed out that, on one hand, overweight is socially represented as a health
problem mainly related to a sedentary lifestyle and a bad nutrition
4
. But, on the other hand, it is
also represented in aesthetic terms, in which beauty suffers as weight increases, reducing a person’s
attractiveness
5
. This aesthetic issue has its impact particularly among young people, for whom fitting
or not fitting into their clothes dictates whether they feel fat or not
6,7
.
Body weight has also been associated with social relationships in terms of perceived group exclu-
sion or inclusion
6
. In fact, obesity is seen as a status cue
8
and obese people suffer discrimination in
every area of their lives, including education, employment, healthcare, and in intimate relationships
9
.
Even though the term obese evokes stronger negative evaluations than the term fat
10
, fatness has also
come to be strongly feared in our society
11
.
Research in the field of social representations
12,13
highlights the role that emotional context plays
in symbolic thought and its relevance in making a topic recognizable and understandable. Social Rep-
resentation Theory proposes that emotions do not distort cognition, while understanding that both
are a multifaceted response
12,14
in health crises.
Research around emotions and fatness or obesity has mainly focused on emotional predictors of
obesity
15,16,17,18
or emotional eating
19,20,21
. Nevertheless, little research analyzes what specific emo-
tional responses are evoked in social representations of fatness. Previous researches in this area show
that fatness has been associated with psychological components, such as anxiety, depression, embar-
rassment or discrimination
4
. In addition, disgust or negative emotions have predicted prejudice
and discrimination toward individuals with obesity
22,23
. Fat people have also been described as ugly
and unhappy
5
.
In the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (Spain), where our research unfolds, the
last Public Health Survey
24
found that 51.8% of people were overweight (body mass index – BMI >
25kg/m
2
) and that 47.2% would like to lose weight. However, these results change dramatically among
young people (18-26 years). While 17.1% of youth were found to be overweight, 30.9% of them would
like to lose weight. These results suggest that the shared representation of fatness among young
people is especially important and critical.
The main goal of this paper is to study the impact that fatness has on the public consciousness of
youth and their emotional response. The objective is to analyze fatness as a social issue and to deter-
mine the emotions it arouses. Understanding how fatness is socially constructed by young people is
crucial to create programs to better deal with it.
Due to the worldwide dimension of the obesity epidemic, fatness is likely to be represented as a
health problem, caused particularly by a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition. Fat people are also
expected to be represented as people with a strong surrounding negative emotional charge. This
research aims to study such emotions in depth and determine whether they are connected to any
subjective or interpersonal factors.
In the same vein, fatness is likely to be represented as an aesthetic issue linked with ugliness. We
will try to precise the factors that determine this assumption and ascertain whether they are socially
promoted. In addition, we also want to inquire into the emotional responses that are associated with
this aesthetic factor.
SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS OF FATNESS
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Cad. Saúde Pública 2018; 34(8):e00197917
Method
Sample
Two hundred people participated in this research. The sample was composed by first-year students in
their first month in the University (September), since our goal was to analyze young students recently
graduated from high school. A convenience sample was presented to Spanish students – University
of the Basque Country (65%), Mondragon University (25%) and Deusto University (10%) - of three
different degrees – psychology (40%), childhood education (31,5%) and primary education (28,5%).
61% of the students were women and the average age of the participants was 18.89 years (SD = 2.22
with an age range of 18-23 years). Considering the BMI of the participants, 7% of these students had
an insufficient weight, 81% a normal weight, 10% were overweight and 2% were obese.
Design
To perform this investigation, participants were asked in a questionnaire to provide a free response
to the following single question: “What do you think and feel when you hear the word ‘fatness’?”. The
question was answered in a face-to-face context, for which the researchers went to in the different
universities. After answering the question, the youth were also asked about their age, gender, univer-
sity, degree, height and weight.
To proceed with a content analysis of shared representations of fatness, the free word associa-
tion technique was used. The Social Representations Theory argues that analysis of free associations
across groups
25,26
and contexts
27
provides a clear procedure to identify the “figurative nucleus” of
the representation of diseases.
Alceste software (http://www.image-zafar.com/Logicieluk.html, Toulouse, France) for lexical
analysis
28,29
was used to analyze the corpus of the texts, eliminating problems of reliability and
validity in the text analysis
30,31
. Previous studies have shown that this technique is useful and apt for
analyzing content of social representations
32
, concluding that emergent results are consistent with
those proposed by classic research in this area.
Firstly, the initial corpus is divided into elementary contextual units (ECUs), which have the
approximate length of a sentence or two (30-50 words)
33
. The corpus is analyzed considering the pres-
ence of whole words in the ECUs. ECUs and the reduced forms are used to create a contingency table,
which shows the vocabulary distribution per ECU. From this contingency table, a squared distance
matrix is generated, meaning that two ECUs are close if they share some of the words analysed
31
.
Subsequently, a descending hierarchical cluster analysis is performed on this distance table, which
yields classes of ECUs that best differentiate the vocabulary. In doing so, this software assists in the
interpretation of texts, extracting classes of words that co-occur and that are best differentiated from
other classes.
Following previous research with Alceste
34
, the most significant vocabulary in each class was
directed under three criteria: (1) an expected value of the word greater than 5; (2) association proof
of the chi-square tested against the class (χ² 3.89; p = 0.05; df = 1); and (3) the word must be mainly
within that class with a frequency of 50% or more. Once identified, these “lexical universes” are asso-
ciated with “passive” variables (independent variables), providing a chi-square statistic. In this case,
the passive variable was the weight of the participants (insufficient, normal, overweight and obese).
As a last step, and as a complementary analysis, Alceste also makes a multiple correspondence fac-
tor analysis produced from the descending hierarchical cluster analysis.
Results
The results section is structured into two subsections. First, the shared representations about fatness
are examined focusing on the free association exercise results, and then, the emotional response,
associated with those representations, is specified.
Idoiaga Mondragon N, Belasko Txertudi M
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Cad. Saúde Pública 2018; 34(8):e00197917
Shared representations of fatness
The full corpus had 11,752 words, and 1,707 were unique words. Specifically, the descending hierar-
chical analysis divided the corpus into 333 ECUs, and 4 types of classes were extracted from the most
significant vocabulary in each class. None of these classes was significantly related to the weight type
of the participants. Results of the analysis can be observed in Figure 1.
Results showed two main clusters: the first one defines what fatness is and who is defined as fat
(classes 1 and 2), while the second one is more related to how fat people are seen and how they should
act (classes 3 and 4). Following the division of the cluster analysis, in the first main cluster, the first
class, “fatness” (30.17%), is the most descriptive class. It reflects a description of fatness as an impor-
tant health problem that can be a big obstacle in life, as described in the next ECU: “It is a bad state
of health that can become a big problem. Whatever the case, it is a shame because fat people are not physically
able to enjoy life” (Men, normal weight; χ
2
(1) = 31). Further, this class points out that bad nutrition and
a sedentary lifestyle are its main causes: “It is produced by eating too much food and not practicing sports.
Sometimes you must lose weight for health reasons. Being fat is unhealthy and it is essential to eat healthily
and practice a lot of sports” (Woman, normal weight; χ
2
(1) = 19); “When fatness becomes obesity it can cause
health problems. In many cases, the causes are a poor diet or eating too much unhealthy food” (Woman, normal
weight; χ
2
(1) = 31).
Linked to the first class, appears the “larger size clothes” (7.85%) class, highlighting that one of the
consequences of fatness is the difficulty in finding clothes that fit. Therefore, people that do not fit
their clothes are defined as fat people. This class argues that regular size clothes often do not fit fat
Figure 1
Hierarchical clustering dendrogram of free association that describes the social representations about fatness with the most frequent words and the
words with the greatest association (χ2(1); p < 0.001).
SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS OF FATNESS
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Cad. Saúde Pública 2018; 34(8):e00197917
or overweight people well: “I am sick of going shopping with my friends and hearing again and again that
their clothes do not look right, or they cannot fit in them. We want a homogeneous society where a few sizes fit
everyone” (Woman, insufficient weight; χ
2
(1) = 31). Some of the most relevant ECUs argue that fitting
or not fitting well in clothes is what makes them feel fat or not, and also whether their “regular clothes”
fit them properly or not: “What most infuriates me is that my friends and I feel fat because clothes sizes in the
regular stores are becoming smaller. So, we are always having to go for a larger size. My mates wear large-sized
clothes and sometimes the whole size issue makes us feel awful (Woman, normal weight; χ
2
(1) = 28).
The second main cluster is more related to how fat people are usually seen and how they usually
act. The first class, “how are fat people seen by themselves and by society?” (28.1%), has two groups of
ECUs. Firstly, there are the responses of fat people (or people that feel fat), explaining how they see
themselves and how they feel about their condition. Some of the main ECUs are: “I have a great lack of
self-confidence. Insecurity. Being fat makes me really hurt and I feel bad. My physical image really embarrasses
me, and I have loads of complexes. So, my life is pretty sad” (Woman, normal weight; χ
2
(1) = 29); “People look at
me and insult me, so my self-consciousness increases. The insults and the lack of confidence lower my self-esteem.
I’m not comfortable with my body. I mean, like, I don’t look at myself in the mirror. If I don’t like myself, who will?
It is sad to have these feelings about gaining weight, but I can’t feel otherwise” (Woman, overweight; χ
2
(1) =
24). Secondly, there are also many ECUs in this class describing fatness as a social problem or as a
problem aggravated by society: “People look at you funny and sometimes say things to hurt you. I feel ashamed,
because society looks down on fat people. They are frowned upon by society (Man, overweight; χ
2
(1) = 27); “In
society today, there is too much social pressure against fat people, especially against fat women. If you are a fat
woman, society marginalizes you. I’ve been overweight all my life and I have always been directly or indirectly
marginalized. Such social pressure causes many physical and mental illnesses and punishes us for being as we are
(Woman, normal weight; χ
2
(1) = 27); “Fat-phobia. Being fat is not having an obesity problem, it is much more
about the pressure of aesthetics. The obese have always been the outcasts of society. Overweight people who do not
have health problems must also put up with cruel taunts and insults. It is more a reflection of social stereotypes,
an aesthetic pressure and the objectification of the body in this developed society. Everyone is overweight if we
follow the established canons” (Woman, normal weight; χ
2
(1) = 24); “It is a shame that society has such a nega-
tive attitude toward fatness. The main promoters of this are the mass media because they use these ideas against
fat people. In consequence, fat people become ashamed of their own bodies” (Men, normal weight; χ
2
(1) = 24).
Lastly, the “to lose weight” class (23.88%) is associated with this second cluster. This class focuses
on how fat people are constantly pressured to lose weight. This pressure is described as a very power-
ful lobby in our society. Here are some of the typical ECUs: “I am afraid of eating and afraid of putting on
weight. I always want to lose weight and it is a torture. I would like to be thin and I envy girls who are thin and
do not have to make any effort to be so. Why am I fat? I feel sorry for myself” (Woman, overweight; χ
2
(1) =
16); “A fat person needs to lose weight and wants to be thin. Other people do not like fat people, so we need to
go on diets to lose weight. The fact is, it is not acceptable today to be fat and we are always prisoners to dieting.
And even if we lose weight, we then put it on again and end up going crazy! We cannot go on like this forever!
(Woman, normal weight; χ
2
(1) = 12).
Shared emotional response of fatness
To deeply analyze emotional responses regarding fatness, we firstly identified emotional significant
words related to each class. Results showed that the first class, “fatness”, is more descriptive and not
excessively related to emotions, while the rest of the classes are much more emotional.
Starting from the second class, obsession (F = 5; χ
2
= 25.35), pain (F = 5; χ
2
= 14.52), ugliness (F = 5;
χ
2
= 7.29), sadness (F = 6; χ
2
= 4.54), sorrow (F = 5; χ
2
= 2.67) and anguish (F = 5; χ
2
= 2.67) were linked
to the “larger size clothes” class. Anxiety (F = 6; χ
2
= 15.74), feel (F = 6; χ
2
= 11.84), insecurity (F = 9; χ
2
=
11.50), lonesomeness (F = 5; χ
2
= 7.77) and judged (F = 5; χ
2
= 6.81) were linked to the “how are fat
people seen by themselves and society?” class. Finally, pity (F = 23; χ
2
= 23.76), depression (F = 5; χ
2
=
6.72) and anger (F = 5; χ
2
= 6.72) were linked to “lose weight”.
The multiple correspondence factor analysis derived from the descending hierarchical cluster
analysis (Figure 2) illustrates the previous results.
The words that most prominently contribute to the factors are projected on the plane that inter-
sects factors 1 (X axis) and 2 (Y axis). Factor 1 polarized, on the one hand, fatness as a disease or health
Idoiaga Mondragon N, Belasko Txertudi M
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Cad. Saúde Pública 2018; 34(8):e00197917
problem (disease, obesity, health, etc.) with words that describe its causes and consequences: disease,
obesity, activity, food, junk, sedentary, etc. These words are mainly descriptive and are distant to the
emotional words. Then, on the other hand, the social actors of fatness are presented: society and the
representation of fat people. In factor 2, the distribution of those social actors is more clear, analyzing
exactly which emotional response or words are connected to each other. Therefore, on the top of the
axis we have the representation or the self-representation of fat people, that is, how they see them-
selves (Herself, your own, self-opinion, self, etc.). The image of fat people is linked with emotional
words, such as uncomfortable, complex, anger, laziness, self-esteem, embarrassment, discomfort,
insecurity, solitude, sad, fear or impotence. Then, as this axis descends, we can see society (society,
social, etc.) also described as a promoter of pressure and stereotypes (stereotype, ugly, pressure, fash-
ion, canon, ugliness, etc.),relating it to emotional words associated with suffering, such as marginal-
ization, tired, sadness, pain, sorrow, obsession, suffer, suffering, depression, cry, pity, marginalized,
anguish or happy, and others linked with anger, such as fury, hungry, anger or rage. The word risk is
also on this side of the axis.
Lastly, we should also highlight that in this multiple correspondence factor analysis, female word
references have emerged, in particular: herself, girl or women. These words have appeared both in
connection with society and with self-image.
Figure 2
Multiple correspondence factor analysis that describes social representations about fatness produced from the
descending hierarchical cluster analysis.
SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS OF FATNESS
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Cad. Saúde Pública 2018; 34(8):e00197917
Discussion
This research has provided important evidence about why the concern about fatness is part of con-
temporary youth culture. Our results highlighted the multidimensionality of social representations of
fatness, describing it as a subjective problem, as well as an interpersonal issue in which emotions are
a key factor to construct the understanding from everyday thinking.
Social representations regarding fatness among youth have an epistemological description of
this issue. As in previous researches, fatness is understood as a health problem developed by lack of
activity and poor diet
4
. This health correlated argument is only descriptive and reflects no specific
emotional component in the results. Medical-scientific representation of the disease, therefore, does
not emotionally affect lay thinking about fatness.
But this epistemological description is not the only way to determine what fatness is. As in previ-
ous research
6,7
, “fitting your clothes or not” is also described as a crucial factor for people to feel fat or
not. “Not fitting your clothes” means “feeling fat” and, in consequence, is strongly related to ugliness.
Therefore, this fact is described as an obsession among young people and as responsible for causing
pain, sadness, sorrow and anxiety. Furthermore, these emotions relate to social and interpersonal
issue, revealing that this “fitting” issue is more than an aesthetic problem, since fitting certain sizes of
clothes has become a way to be socially accepted
6
.
In fact, our results have demonstrated that feeling bad for feeling fat
35
is much more associated
with social pressure than with self-health or self-comfort. That is, fatness is described as a marginal-
ization factor by society and, as a result, creates solitude or loneliness. People feel judged (and some-
times insulted) for their weight, causing embarrassment, anxiety, fear, sadness, and insecurity, and
they describe these direct effects on their self-esteem. That is, when disassociating the idea of fatness
as a health problem, a surrounding negative emotional charge is created due to the non-acceptance
of fatness in our society.
This fat-phobia representation is, moreover, especially associated with girls or women. Anti-fat or
pro-slim representation and pressure are deeply grounded in references to the female figure. In fact,
feeling fat has been considered as “a woman’s shame” with direct negative consequences on women
and their weight
36
, producing emotional distress
37
.
Feelings of pity for fat people also emerged in the results. Pity is an ambivalent emotion, compris-
ing both compassion and sadness, resulting from appraising another’s negative outcome as uncon-
trollable
38
. Previous research found that groups stereotyped as low on competence but high on
warmth elicit pity
39
. Therefore, people not only that link fatness with marginalization, but they
assume that fat people are not sufficiently competent to cope with this issue and, even worse, people
who feel fat also share this assumption and feel sorry for themselves. Indeed, these feelings of pity
become more salient in contexts where fat people attempt to lose weight. Slimming is described as
strong social pressure, rather than a necessity or a personal goal
40
, and is highly correlated with the
discourse around diseases, such as depression, anorexia or bulimia, rather than with a healthy lifestyle
or questions of nutrition.
It is a fact that in modern societies the obesity index is increasing but, meanwhile, the concern
about fatness is also increasing. Public health campaigns have played a significant part in attempting
to solve the crisis, and research has been devoted to examining their impact and effectiveness
41,42,43
.
Along with the results, something that these campaigns should consider is the negative emotional
representation of fatness combined with social stigma. The results have shown that young people feel
fatness as a tough issue to cope with at an emotional level and as a factor of verificalearned helpless-
ness
44
. That is, negative shame and emotional vulnerability related to fatness is mostly connected
with social non-acceptance, and not with health problems.
Fatness is an important issue, especially among young people and the coming generations, howev-
er the results have shown that young people think of fatness with fear and not as a positive construc-
tion of health. Fatness and obesity should not be treated from the perspective of aesthetic problems,
stigma troubles or marginality issues. Firstly, the acceptance of the diversity of body weight in the
population should be highlighted, and, secondly, the risk of medical conditions stemming from being
overweight or obese should be defined
45
, since recent research suggests that health risks vary signifi-
cantly between overweight and obesity
46
. Therefore, social representations of fatness must ultimately
Idoiaga Mondragon N, Belasko Txertudi M
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Cad. Saúde Pública 2018; 34(8):e00197917
be re-described and rebuilt from a healthy life perspective. As a society, we must not succumb to the
current pattern of negative emotional construction of fatness, since it only aggravates the situation.
As far as this research has investigated the social representations of young people, if we want to
work fatness from a positive construction perspective, this issue must be covered in all educational
stages (from preschool to university). In fact, the education professional’s role in establishing healthy
routines in children is well-proven
47,48,49
. Based on this research, and framed in education and health
psychology, two key tasks are detected in schools. On the one hand, it is important to bring to students
the importance of a balanced diet and physical exercise. Once the school incorporates these values.
healthy habits among children and adolescents can be promoted
50
. On the other hand, schools must
also be a protected area for the diversity of the body. That is, schools should especially promote a
respectful environment to all students
50,51
. For this, teaching students from an early age to love and
accept themselves is essential, and school is decisive in all these processes.
However, the educational system is not the only one that should be responsible for coping with
stereotypes related to the lean and healthy body. Family and society also have relevant part in the
reproduction of these prejudices. Therefore, there are also other social actors equally important in
shaping values about the body and about the relationship that young people are establishing with
food, for example, the large communication, entertainment and food corporations, as well as the
fashion industry. This study shows an inflection in the value system of our societies that presupposes,
among others, regulatory measures that support the emancipation of people.
Obesity is one of the most important challenges facing modern society. Understanding the pat-
terns linked to these epidemic and knowing how it is cognitively represented and emotionally faced
gives us an added value tool to comprehend how young people incorporate fatness within their every-
day thinking and provides information on how this important issue can be appropriately managed.
Contributors
Both authors worked on all stages of the article’s
production.
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Resumen
Este estudio examina de qué forma la juventud
representa la gordura colectivamente y determi-
na las emociones que suscita. Entender cómo se
construye la gordura socialmente por parte de la
gente joven, es crucial para crear programas que
puedan lidiar mejor con ella. Para ello se llevó a
cabo un ejercicio de asociación libre, suscitado por
la palabra “gordura”, que fue respondido por 200
personas de la Comunidad Autónoma del País
Vasco (España). Su contenido fue analizado a tra-
vés de su léxico, usando el software Alceste. Los
resultados mostraron que la representación que
relacionaba la gordura con la salud fue en su ma-
yor parte descriptiva, y no estaba conectada con
ninguna respuesta emocional o relacionada con el
riesgo. Sin embargo, la gordura fue también repre-
sentada como una presión social, relacionada con
la estigmatización, y altamente correlacionada con
emociones negativas como la tristeza, inseguridad,
vergüenza, angustia, soledad, lástima o ira. Es de-
cir, las emociones relacionadas con el riesgo y ne-
gativas se vincularon a una no aceptación social, y
no a problemas de salud. Por tanto, la conclusión
es que la gordura se transmite partiendo desde el
temor y no desde una construcción positiva de lo
que significa la salud.
Emociones; Obesidad; Peso Corporal; Adulto
Joven
Resumo
O estudo examina as representações coletivas dos
jovens em relação à gordura e identifica as emo-
ções que suscita. Entender a construção social da
gordura pelos jovens é crucial para poder criar
programas para lidar melhor com a questão. Um
exercício de associação livre evocada pela palavra
“gordura” foi respondido por 200 pessoas da Co-
munidade Autônoma do País Basco (Espanha), e
o conteúdo foi submetido a análise lexical com o
uso do programa Alceste. Os resultados mostram
que a representação da gordura em relação à saúde
era predominantemente descritiva, sem associação
com o risco ou com qualquer resposta emocional.
Entretanto, a gordura também era representada
enquanto questão de pressão social relacionada à
estigmatização, fortemente correlacionada com
emoções negativas como tristeza, insegurança, em-
baraço, ansiedade, solidão, pena ou raiva. Ou seja,
as emoções arriscadas e negativas estiveram liga-
das à não-aceitação social, e não a problemas de
saúde. Portanto, a conclusão é que a representação
da gordura é transmitida por medo, e não por uma
construção positiva da saúde.
Emoções; Obesidade; Peso Corporal; Adulto Jovem
Submitted on 16/Nov/2017
Final version resubmitted on 26/Mar/2018
Approved on 02/May/2018
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... Os três eixos presentes nas Representações Sociais da obesidade indicam que tais representações estão ancoradas nos aspectos negativos que são propagados cotidianamente sobre a obesidade e os padrões de beleza vigentes, e que compõem o imaginário social a respeito do fenômeno. A obesidade considerada como doença (Collipal & Godoy, 2015;Justo & Camargo, 2017;Justo et al., 2018), relacionada ao preconceito e à discriminação (Araújo, Coutinho, Alberto, et al., 2018;Araújo, Coutinho, Araújo-Morais, et al., 2018;Koelzer et al., 2016) e ligada à problemas de autoestima e tristeza (Mondragon & Txertudi, 2018) faz parte do imaginário social sobre a obesidade, tanto entre pessoas obesas como não obesas. ...
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RESUMO Esta pesquisa teve como objetivo compreender as Representações Sociais da obesidade e magreza entre pessoas obesas. Foram realizadas entrevistas em profundidade, com questões sobre o que pensavam sobre a obesidade e a magreza, e foi aplicado um questionário com questões de caracterização dos participantes. Participaram do estudo 16 adultos de ambos os sexos, com idades entre 20 e 58 anos, considerados obesos. Os dados da entrevista foram analisados por Classificação Hierárquica Descendente, com a utilização do software IRaMuTeQ. A obesidade foi relacionada ao sofrimento, à não aceitação e à doença, e à magreza, ao bem-estar, à felicidade e à solução de todos os conflitos. Esta forma de pensar pode estar relacionada às práticas de cuidado com a saúde adotadas pelas pessoas.
... Rouquette (2000, 2003); Pivetti, et al. (2017) Interview instructions or open-ended questions asking to evoke emotions felt in relation to a given representational object. Gaymard, 2012;Mondragon and Txertudi (2018) Detection of the emotions spontaneously evoked in the media or through interviews, reactions to images or scenarios, or free (unconstrained) association tasks. ...
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A number of authors consider that exploring the interconnections between social representations and emotions is essential. However, both empirical and theoretical contributions have focused on specific aspects of these concepts and thus offer a narrow view of their articulation. Moreover, these are published in different languages, making it difficult to provide an overview of the current knowledge on the subject. Consequently, this article adopts a broader approach through a literature review articulating social representations and emotions. This is based on a search of various databases, conducted between March and April 2020 and using the terms “social representation” and “emotion” (or affect, mood, or feeling) in their singular and plural forms, both in French and in English. As a result, 41 references explicitly mentioned both terms and were published in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish were collected. This brought to light two lines of inquiry that structure this field of research: the first focuses on the role of emotions in the emergence, dynamics, and functioning of social representations, while the second explores how social representations determine emotions or emotional processes. These perspectives will be discussed from both a theoretical and methodological standpoint with the aim of highlighting new avenues for research.
... Considerando a importância do sentido de comunidade frente ao enfrentamento da obesidade e o papel das redes de suporte psicossocial, este estudo buscou conhecer as redes de suporte psicossocial utilizadas entre estas pessoas, além de identificar as Representações Sociais da obesidade e do seu tratamento. Alguns estudos têm sido realizados com o objetivo de compreender as Representações Sociais da obesidade no Brasil (Araújo, Coutinho, Alberto, Santos & Pinto, 2018; Araújo, Coutinho, Araújo-Morais, Simeão & Maciel, 2018; Justo & Camargo, 2017; Justo, Camargo & Boulsfield, 2018; Koelzer, Castro, Bousfield & Camargo, 2016; Silva, Santos, Justo, Boulsfield & Camargo, 2018) e em outros países do mundo(Collipal & Godoy, 2015;Mondragon & Txertudi, 2018;Morales & Lorenzo, 2014). Araújo, Coutinho,Araújo-Morais, et al. (2018),Araújo, Coutinho, Alberto, et al. (2018) e Koelzer et al. (2016 encontraram importantes relações entre a obesidade e o preconceito. ...
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Resumo: Este estudo procurou conhecer as Representações Sociais da Obesidade e de seus tratamentos e identificar as redes de suporte psicossocial acessadas por pessoas com sobrepeso e obesidade. O estudo foi dividido em duas etapas, com aplicação de questionário on-line em 57 pessoas na primeira etapa, e realização de entrevista com 15 mulheres na segunda etapa. Os dados sofreram análise descritiva, de conteúdo e lexicográfica. A obesidade foi considerada fonte de limitações físicas, sociais e psicológicas e seus tratamentos foram considerados ora como uma esperança, ora como ineficazes. As pessoas indicaram preferir uma rede de suporte de pessoas também obesas, indicando o surgimento do sentido de comunidade. Palavras-chave: Psicologia Social Comunitária; Representações sociais; Rede de suporte psicossocial; obesidade; tratamentos. Abstract: This study sought to know the Social Representations of Obesity and their treatments and to identify the psychosocial support networks accessed by overweight and obese people. The study was divided into two stages, with an online questionnaire applied to 57 people in the first stage, and an interview with 15 women in the second stage. The data underwent descriptive, content, and lexicographic analyses. Obesity was considered a source of physical, social, and psychological limitations, and its treatments were considered either as a hope or as ineffective. People indicated that they prefer a support network of people who are also obese, indicating the emergence of a sense of community. Resumen: Este estudio buscó conocer las Representaciones Sociales alrededor de la Obesidad y sus tratamientos e, identificar las redes de apoyo psicosocial a las que acceden las personas con sobrepeso y obesidad. El estudio fue dividido en dos etapas, se aplicó un cuestionario on-line que fue respondido por 57 personas en la primera etapa, y una entrevista a 15 mujeres en la segunda etapa. Los datos fueron sometidos a análisis descriptivo, de contenido y lexicográfico. La obesidad fue considerada como una fuente de limitaciones físicas, sociales y psicológicas y, sus tratamientos se consideraron como una esperanza o como ineficaces. Las personas indicaron que prefieren una red de apoyo de personas que también sean obesas, lo que indica el surgimiento de un sentido de comunidad.
... Foram encontrados ainda sentimentos de pena por pessoas gordas, assumindo valores de incompetência para lidar com este problema e compartilhando de uma suposição de que pessoas gordas sentem pena de si mesmas. O emagrecimento é exaltado como necessidade e como causador de grande pressão social, correlacionado com o discurso sobre doenças, como depressão, anorexia ou bulimia, em vez de um estilo de vida saudável (Mondragon & Txertudi, 2018). ...
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Alexithymic mothers have difficulty describing and naming their own feelings, and may present greater difficulties in recognizing and meeting the needs of their babies, affecting the mother-infant relationship and contributing to the manifestation of functional somatic symptoms (FSS) in the child. Therefore, the general objective of this research was to verify the perceptions of alexithymic mothers about motherhood and the baby presenting FSS, and the specific objectives were: 1) evaluate and understand maternal alexithmic functioning; 2) identify the mother's perceptions about motherhood and the baby; 3) verify how the mother understands the baby's symptoms, and 4) analyze the possible relations between maternal alexithymia and the baby's symptom. This is a qualitative study, with a Multiple Case Study design. Three alexithymic women between the ages of 24 and 34, with children up to 36 months who had at least one FSS participated. Participants answered the Sociodemographic and Clinical Data Sheet, Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-26), Baby Somatic Symptom Questionnaire, Life Story Interview and the Interview on Motherhood and the Mother-Child Relationship. It was possible to identify the possible factors that contributed to the alexithymic functioning and how these experiences influence motherhood and their perceptions. The study mothers in the interviews mainly identified the behavior FSS in their baby's, but they understood it as belonging to the child, and not as a symptom of the relationship.
... Foram encontrados ainda sentimentos de pena por pessoas gordas, assumindo valores de incompetência para lidar com este problema e compartilhando de uma suposição de que pessoas gordas sentem pena de si mesmas. O emagrecimento é exaltado como necessidade e como causador de grande pressão social, correlacionado com o discurso sobre doenças, como depressão, anorexia ou bulimia, em vez de um estilo de vida saudável (Mondragon & Txertudi, 2018). ...
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Body excess is seen in different ways, depending on the social groups that refer to it. This systematic review seeks to identify how the theme of Social Representations of overweight and obesity has been discussed in the scientific literature between 2015 and 2019. Data were collected between March and May 2020 in different databases: Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), Latin American Literature in Health Science (LILACS), National Library of Medicine (PubMed), Electronic Psychology Journals (PePSIC), EBSCO, PsycNet and Web of Science, using the following keywords: "Social Representations" and "obesity" or "overweight" in Portuguese, Spanish, English and French. At the end of the article eligibility process, eight papers met the established inclusion criteria. The productions based their arguments on three categories: 1) Obesity as a disease, 2) Obesity related to psychological disorders and 3) Social consequences of obesity. It was found that the research brought the three categories of social representations of obesity to a greater or lesser degree of importance, concomitantly. Regardless of the location of the research, the negative view of obesity and overweight is repeated, presented as something to be prevented, and combated, or even better discussed, in order to avoid stigmatization and problems arising from it.
... Considerando a importância do sentido de comunidade frente ao enfrentamento da obesidade e o papel das redes de suporte psicossocial, este estudo buscou conhecer as redes de suporte psicossocial utilizadas entre estas pessoas, além de identificar as Representações Sociais da obesidade e do seu tratamento. Alguns estudos têm sido realizados com o objetivo de compreender as Representações Sociais da obesidade no Brasil (Araújo, Coutinho, Alberto, Santos & Pinto, 2018; Araújo, Coutinho, Araújo-Morais, Simeão & Maciel, 2018; Justo & Camargo, 2017; Justo, Camargo & Boulsfield, 2018; Koelzer, Castro, Bousfield & Camargo, 2016; Silva, Santos, Justo, Boulsfield & Camargo, 2018) e em outros países do mundo(Collipal & Godoy, 2015;Mondragon & Txertudi, 2018;Morales & Lorenzo, 2014). Araújo, Coutinho,Araújo-Morais, et al. (2018),Araújo, Coutinho, Alberto, et al. (2018) e Koelzer et al. (2016 encontraram importantes relações entre a obesidade e o preconceito. ...
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This study sought to know the Social Representations of Obesity and their treatments and to identify the psychosocial support networks accessed by overweight and obese people. The study was divided into two stages, with an online questionnaire applied to 57 people in the first stage, and an interview with 15 women in the second stage. The data underwent descriptive, content, and lexicographic analyses. Obesity was considered a source of physical, social, and psychological limitations, and its treatments were considered either as a hope or as ineffective. People indicated that they prefer a support network of people who are also obese, indicating the emergence of a sense of community.
... Foram encontrados ainda sentimentos de pena por pessoas gordas, assumindo valores de incompetência para lidar com este problema e compartilhando de uma suposição de que pessoas gordas sentem pena de si mesmas. O emagrecimento é exaltado como necessidade e como causador de grande pressão social, correlacionado com o discurso sobre doenças, como depressão, anorexia ou bulimia, em vez de um estilo de vida saudável (Mondragon & Txertudi, 2018). ...
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... Con dicha comprensión, se podrían instaurar programas que puedan contribuir con la reducción del sobrepeso y la obesidad. Así, se tiene que la gordura es representada por los adolescentes como una presión social, especialmente vinculada con la estigmatización, y altamente asociada con emociones negativas como la tristeza, la inseguridad, la vergüenza, la angustia, la soledad, la lástima o la ira, concluyendo que la gordura se transmite partiendo desde el temor, más que desde una construcción positiva de lo que significa la salud (Mondragon y Txertudi, 2018). ...
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Revista GICOS, Volumen 6, Número 1, enero-junio 2021
... This observation complements the findings of a previous free-word association study in the context of obesity, in which healthy students had to provide their impressions on fatness. Surprisingly, they linked the fatness-related bad feelings with social pressure rather than with the health or self-comfort of the people with obesity [23]. ...
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Background Mindset and communication barriers may hinder the acceptance of bariatric surgery (BS) by the eligible patient population. Objectives To improve the understanding of expectations, opinions, emotions and attitudes toward weight-loss among patients with obesity. Setting Switzerland, Germany, Austria. Methods Survey data collected from BS-related social media communities (N=1482). Participants were asked to write 5 words that first came to their mind about “weight loss”, and to select 2 emotions which best described their corresponding feelings. Demographic and obesity-related data were collected. Cognitive representations were constructed based on the co-occurrence network of associations, using validated data-driven methodology. Results Respondents were Caucasian (98%), female (94%), aged 42.5±10.1 years, current/highest lifetime body mass index=36.9±9/50.7±8.7 kg/m². The association network analysis revealed two cognitive modules: benefit-focused (health, attractiveness, happiness, agility) and procedure-focused (effort, diet, sport, surgery). Patients willing to undergo BS were more benefit-focused (Odds ratio (OR)=2.4, P=0.02) and expressed more ‘hope’ (OR=142, P<0.001). History of BS was associated with higher adherence to the procedure-focused module (OR=2.3, P<0.001), and with increased use of the emotions ‘gratitude’ (OR=107, P<0.001), ‘pride’ (OR=15, P<0.001), and decreased mention of ‘hope’ (OR=0.03, P<0.001). Conclusion Patients with obesity in our study tend to think about weight loss along two cognitive schemes, either emphasizing its expected benefits or focusing on the process of achieving it. Benefit-focused respondents were more likely to consider BS, and to express hope rather than gratitude or pride. Novel communication strategies may increase the acceptance of BS by incorporating weight loss-related cognitive and emotional content stemming from patients’ free associations.
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This study examined the relevance of disgust to evaluations of an obese target person, and the connection between disgust and prejudice toward that person. Participants (n=598) viewed an image of an obese or non-obese woman, and then evaluated that woman on a number of dimensions (emotions, attitudes, stereotypes, desire for social distance). Compared with the non-obese target, the obese target elicited more disgust, more negative attitudes and stereotypes, and a greater desire for social distance. Furthermore, disgust mediated the effect of the target's body size on all of the outcome variables (attitudes, stereotypes, social distance). Disgust plays an important role in prejudice and discrimination toward individuals with obesity, and might in part explain the pervasiveness of weight bias.
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Social Motivation, Justice, and the Moral Emotions proposes an attribution theory of interpersonal or social motivation that distinguishes between the role of thinking and feeling in determining action. The place of this theory within the larger fields of motivation and attributional analyses is explored. It features new thoughts concerning social motivation on such topics as help giving, aggression, achievement evaluation, compliance to commit a transgression, as well as new contributions to the understanding of social justice. Included also is material on moral emotions, with discussions of admiration, contempt, envy, gratitude, and other affects not considered in Professor Weiner's prior work. The text also contains previously unexamined topics regarding social inferences of arrogance and modesty. Divided into five chapters, this book: * considers the logical development and structure of a proposed theory of social motivation and justice; * reviews meta-analytic tests of the theory within the contexts of help giving and aggression and examines issues related to cultural and individual differences; * focuses on moral emotions including an analysis of admiration, envy, gratitude, jealousy, scorn, and others; * discusses conditions where reward decreases motivation while punishment augments strivings; and * provides applications that are beneficial in the classroom, in therapy, and in training programs.This book appeals to practicing and research psychologists and advanced students in social, educational, personality, political/legal, health, and clinical psychology. It will also serve as a supplement in courses on motivational psychology, emotion and motivation, altruism and/or pro-social behavior, aggression, social judgment, and morality. Also included is the raw material for 13 experiments relating to core predictions of the proposed attribution theory. © 2006 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.