No Sass files were modified. Time elapsed 0.0005 seconds

The impact of shame, self-criticism and social rank on eating psychopathology in overweight and obese members of a commercial weight management programme

Document Type

Published Date

  • 2015


  • Background: Research has highlighted the important role social rank, shame and self-criticism play in vulnerability to and maintenance of eating disorders. However, it is not clear if these factors are also important for weight control capability in populations who are overweight or obese. This study examined associations between self-criticism, social comparison, external shame, negative affect (emotions) and eating psychopathology in overweight/obese participants attending a weight management programme focused on behaviour change. Methods: 2236 participants completed an online survey with measures of self-criticism, social comparison, external shame and negative affect, adapted to address these aspects in relation to eating behaviour, body weight and shape. Results: Correlational analyses showed that external shame, self-criticism and social comparison were associated with negative affect and eating psychopathology. Path analysis showed that when the effect of depressive symptoms was controlled for the impact of external shame, hated self and reassured self on disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger was fully mediated by their effect on weight-related negative affect. In turn, inadequate self and negative social comparison predicted higher disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger directly and partially through weight-related negative affect. Conclusions: Shame, self-criticism, and perceptions of low social rank significantly predict eating-related difficulties in members of the general population participating in popular weight-loss programmes. Targeting shame, self-criticism, and perceptions of low social rank are important areas of focus for interventions in members of the general population experiencing eating and weight-related difficulties
Back to Top