Gender differences in social consequences of perceived overweight in the United States and Australia

Marika Tiggemann, Esther D. Rothblum

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    181 Citations (Scopus)


    This study investigated attitudes about body weight and appearance in a group of young adults. Undergraduate psychology students at the Flinders University of South Australia and at the University of Vermont were asked about their weight and dieting, consciousness about their body, the degree to which their weight had interfered with social activities, their perceptions about the causes of obseity, and their stereotypes about fat and thin men and women. Although 20% of the sample was overweight, 50% of subjects perceived themselves to be overweight to some degree. As expected, weight was a much greater issue for women, who felt more overweight, dieted more, expressed more body consciousness, and reported that weight had interfered more with social activities than did men. Also as expected, Vermont students reported greater frequency of dieting, more concern about weight, and more body consciousness than did students in Australia. Finally, men and women in both cultures stereotyped obese targets significantly more negatively than they did nonobese targets. The results indicate excessive and maladaptive concerns with weight in general, and among women and U.S. students in particular.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-86
    Number of pages12
    JournalSex Roles
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1988


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