Perception of Others' Body Size Influences Weight Loss and Regain for European American but Not African American Women

Academic Article


  • Objective: The authors investigated whether European American (EA) and African American (AA) women took longer to lose weight, and were less likely to maintain weight loss if they perceived others to be overweight. Design: Overweight EA and AA women completed a Figure Rating Scale and the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire prior to a weight loss intervention. Body composition was assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry prior to and following weight loss. Main Outcome Measures: rate of weight loss, % body fat at follow-up. Results: For EA, but not AA women, perception of others' body size was inversely associated with rate of weight loss and cognitive restraint, and positively associated with body fat gain following intervention. In linear regression modeling, EA, but not AA, women who perceived others as large, subsequently had greater percent body fat 1 year after weight loss than did those who perceived others as lean, independent of age, baseline body fat, and body size deemed "acceptable." Inclusion of cognitive restraint in the model weakened this effect. Conclusion: Among EA but not AA women, perception of others' body size influenced weight loss and maintenance. This effect may have been mediated by cognitive restraint. © 2009 American Psychological Association.
  • Published In

  • Health Psychology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Chandler-Laney PC; Hunter GR; Ard JD; Roy JL; Brock DW; Gower BA
  • Start Page

  • 414
  • End Page

  • 418
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 4