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Women with obesity are not as curvy as they think: consequences on their everyday life behavior

Urdapilleta, Isabel, Lahlou, Saadi, Demarchi, Samuel and Catheline, Jean-Marc (2019) Women with obesity are not as curvy as they think: consequences on their everyday life behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 10 (AUG). ISSN 1664-1078

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Identification Number: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01854

Abstract

Two studies explore the impact of body size on daily life activities of women with obesity. In the first study, ethnographic techniques (first-person perspective video recordings) and subsequent interviews based on the video recordings were used. Results showed atypical behavior of women with obesity and ex-obese women related to memories of embarrassing experiences regarding personal body size (sitting, passing doors sideways, over-careful navigation in public space, and choosing clothes sizes too large.) Women with obesity seem to behave as if they thought they had a larger body than it actually was. These atypical behaviors are related to memories of embarrassing experiences regarding personal body size and stigma. Overweight women exhibit the same behavior but to a lesser and less systematic degree. In the second study, the represented (imagined) body size was compared to the perceived (in a mirror) body size with digital morphing techniques. In the mirror condition, the perceived image is accurate, while in the absence of a mirror women with obesity overestimate their body size by about 30%. Moreover, overestimation of imagined body size increased according to the weight status. Finally, women who had bariatric surgery had poorer estimates than women who had not. This would result of being continuously reminded of obesity and its stigma by daily embarrassing experiences, by being confronted with an environment designed for normal weight (e.g., narrow seats, turnstiles etc.) that makes obesity salient. We suggest that body size overestimation is a case of accentuation where things that matter are perceived bigger. These results could also been explained by the allocentric lock theory.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2019 16:21
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2019 23:09
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/101431

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