Examining perceived stereotype threat among overweight/obese adults using a multi-threat framework

Robert A. Carels, Sarah E. Domoff, Jacob M. Burmeister, Afton M. Koball, Nova G. Hinman, Alan K. Davis, Marissa Wagner Oehlhof, Michelle Leroy, Erin Bannon, Debra A. Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: The Multi-Threat Framework accounts for potentially different forms of stereotype threat that differ in target (i.e., the individual or the group) and source (i.e., the self or others). This investigation examined how these different forms of perceived stereotype threat were related to concepts, such as group identity, stereotype endorsement, stigma consciousness, etc., among overweight and obese individuals. Method: 216 adults completed an online survey. Participants' mean age was 23.6 (SD 10.1; range 18-64) years and mean BMI was 31.6 (SD 7.5) kg/m2. Results: Participants reported a history of feeling threatened by stereotypes related to weight. When reflecting on past experiences of perceived stereotype threat, participants reported greater levels of self/own stereotype threat compared to group stereotype threat. Level of stereotype threat was related to a number of personal characteristics (i.e., sex, BMI) and individual factors (i.e., group identity, stigma consciousness, fear of fat). Conclusion: Individuals who are overweight report a history of being threatened by negative stereotypes. The findings support the Multi-Threat Framework for stereotype threat based on body weight. Overweight individuals' susceptibility to stereotype threat may vary systematically depending on several factors. Future research should examine weight-related stereotypes' impact on cognitive and behavioral outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-268
Number of pages11
JournalObesity Facts
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Group identity
  • Obesity
  • Stereotype threat
  • Stigma consciousness
  • Weight stigma


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