'Just bloody fat!' : a qualitative study of body image, self esteem and coping in obese adults

Thomas, Samantha, Karunaratne, Asuntha, Lewis, Sophie, Castle, David, Knoesen, Natalie, Honigman, Roberta, Hyde, Jim, Kausman, Rick and Komesaroff, Paul 2010, 'Just bloody fat!' : a qualitative study of body image, self esteem and coping in obese adults, International journal of mental health promotion, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 39-49, doi: 10.1080/14623730.2010.9721805.

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Title 'Just bloody fat!' : a qualitative study of body image, self esteem and coping in obese adults
Author(s) Thomas, SamanthaORCID iD for Thomas, Samantha orcid.org/0000-0003-1427-7775
Karunaratne, Asuntha
Lewis, Sophie
Castle, David
Knoesen, Natalie
Honigman, Roberta
Hyde, Jim
Kausman, Rick
Komesaroff, Paul
Journal name International journal of mental health promotion
Volume number 12
Issue number 1
Start page 39
End page 49
Total pages 11
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2010-02
ISSN 1462-3730
2049-8543
Keyword(s) obesity
body image
self-perception
stigma
coping strategies
mental health
qualitative research
Summary The rise of the ‘obesity epidemic’ in Western societies has led to an increased public gaze on obese individuals. Yet there is limited research that explores through qualitative methods the increased impact it has had on obese individuals’ perceptions of self, body image and coping strategies, using their own words. This paper presents the findings of interviews with a community sample of 142 obese adults in Australia. We examined how obese individuals felt about themselves and their bodies, what influenced these feelings, and the subsequent coping strategies employed. While participants were able to identify many positive characteristics about their inner self, the vast majority used negative language to describe their physical appearance. Many participants described feelings of ‘guilt’, ‘shame’ and ‘blame’ associated with their weight. Coping strategies included striving for perfection in other areas of their life, social isolation, maximising aspects of their appearance and ‘fat’ acceptance. This study shows that, while different groups of obese adults experience, cope with and compensate for the influence of weight-based stereotyping in many different ways, they still feel an unrelenting otherness and difference associated with their weight.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/14623730.2010.9721805
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, Routledge
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30046417

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Population Health
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