Lonelier, lazier, and teased: The stigmatizing effect of body size

Viren Swami*, Adrian Furnham, Reena Amin, Jahanara Chaudhri, Kiran Joshi, Shyma Jundi, Rebecca Miller, Julia Mirza-Begum, Fateha Begum, Pinal Sheth, Martin Tovée

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The authors conducted 2 studies to examine the stigmatization of the female and male body using photographic stimuli of real people. In the first study, 75 female and 55 male undergraduates rated a series of 50 photographs of women ranging in body mass index (BMI) on 3 items: gets teased, lonely, and lazy. Both male and female observers rated bodies on either side of BMI 19-20 kg/m 2 higher for the gets teased and lonely items. For the lazy item, there was a clear pattern of greater stigmatization with increasing BMI. In the second study, 40 male and 40 female observers rated a series of photographs of the male body that varied in BMI and waist-to-chest ratio on the same items. Results showed that men and women judged overweight and more tubular men to be lazier, lonelier, and teased. These findings suggest that body size is an important characteristic to consider when examining body stigmatization among men and women. These results also show support for the beautiful-is-good bias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-594
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


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