Reducing social distance caused by weight stigma: nostalgia changes behavior toward overweight individuals

Rhiannon Turner*, Tim Wildschut, Constantine Sedikides

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
116 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Weight stigma, a negative attitude toward the overweight, can lead to discriminatory practices, as well as increase overweight individuals' vulnerability to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. We propose that a nostalgia induction can attenuate weight stigma. Participants identified an overweight individual, before writing about an interpersonal encounter with that individual, characterized by either central (e.g., “keepsakes” and “childhood”) or peripheral (e.g., “wishing” and “daydreaming”) features of the construct “nostalgia.” Participants who recalled a central (vs. peripheral) nostalgic encounter reported more positive feelings and beliefs toward overweight individuals in general. Moreover, nostalgia influenced behavior: Nostalgic (vs. control) participants reduced their social distance when anticipating an interaction with an overweight individual. The effect of nostalgia on all three outcomes (i.e., positive feelings, beliefs, and behavior) was mediated by greater social connectedness, which in turn was associated with higher inclusion of the outgroup in the self and increased outgroup trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-438
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume52
Issue number6
Early online date13 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Social Psychology

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