This study was prepared by psychology undergraduate students at the University of Liverpool.  Some of our members helped to fill out the questionnaires for the study.  The full study is available if anybody would like to read it by contacting us at 

Attitudes towards obesity and methods of weight loss; a comparison between individuals motivated and non-motivated to lose weight.


It could be assumed that women motivated to lose weight have more negative attitudes towards obesity compared with those non-motivated.  However, this is yet to be demonstrated using an image of an older healthy woman and asking participants to rate her based on her method of weight loss.  Therefore, this study assesses whether motivation to lose weight affected obesity attitudes, and whether different methods of weight loss triggered more negative attitudes.  

Participants were gained opportunistically, 129 females, (67 motivated, 62 non-motivated); all participants were matched on age.  Participants were presented with a picture of a healthy woman in her 40s with a short biography including statements about her past weight and method of weight loss (control, gym, disease and gastric band).  Participants then completed the Fat Phobia Scale (FPS) with six-sub categories and the Beliefs About Obese People Scale (BAOP).  This study found motivation to lose weight significantly decreased FPS, indicating that those non-motivated to lose weight had significantly more negative obesity attitudes.  It also showed that women had higher FPS towards weight loss methods requiring little effort, disease or gastric band surgery. It also found that motivation to lose weight significantly increased BAOP scores, indicating less obesity stigma.  

Motivation to lose weight had a significant effect on sub-category two, grouchy/unfriendly; however, the method of weight loss significantly affected all categories.  This study found that women motivated to lose weight have more negative obesity attitudes, and that methods of weight loss requiring less motivation caused more negative obesity attitudes.