Stigma Reduction Strategies

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A central priority for research is to develop and test stigma reduction strategies. Very few studies have attempted this, but of those that have, there are promising findings. One randomized study attempted to reduce stigma toward obese patients among medical students. An educational course improved attitudes and beliefs about obesity in students compared to a control group (53). Another study reduced antifat attitudes among participants through education about the biological and genetic causes of obesity (47), and a third study improved attitudes and reduced weight-related teasing among children through a curriculum to promote size acceptance (54). Further studies examining the development of stigma reduction interventions will make important contributions to this area of research.

Discrimination is caused by negative attitudes and beliefs about obese persons, so an important question to address is why such negative attitudes exist. A number of studies by Crandall and colleagues have tested a social ideology model which suggests that antifat attitudes are the result of certain attributional tendencies of blame (47-49). Traditional, conservative American values of self-determination and individualism lead to stigmatization of obese people through beliefs that

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