An Experimental Investigation of Ways to Negate the Harmful Effects of Fat Talk
Shannon, Amy Marie
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Fat talk refers to self-disparaging remarks made about one’s weight or shape and has been associated with a number of negative outcomes. Two experimental studies investigated the ability of different conversational responses to negate the negative impact of fat talk. Dietary restraint was also examined as a possible moderating factor of the effects of different conversational responses to fat talk. In Study 1 participants were exposed to a vignette containing either norm focused rebuttal or appearance-based reassurance in response to fat talk, and I assessed changes to food consumption, mood, and body esteem. In Study 2, participants were exposed to a vignette containing norm focused rebuttal, appearance-based reassurance, or distraction in response to fat talk, and I assessed changes to mood and body esteem. Overall, results were mixed regarding which response to fat talk resulted in the best outcomes. Moreover, restrained and unrestrained eaters responded similarly to the different vignettes.