A bifactor analysis of the Weight Bias Internalization Scale: what are we really measuring?

Angela Meadows, Suzanne Higgs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


Internalized weight stigma (IWS) has been linked with disordered eating behavior, both directly, and as a mediator of the relationship between experienced weight stigma and maladaptive coping. However, the construct of IWS is highly correlated with the related constructs of body image and global self-esteem, and the three constructs may better be represented by underlying trait self-judgment. This overlap is not generally accounted for in existing studies. The present study investigated the shared variance between self-esteem, body image, and IWS in an international sample of higher-weight individuals. Bifactor analysis confirmed that the intermediary role of IWS in the relationship between experienced stigma and self-reported eating behavior was largely accounted for by aspects of body image and global self-esteem. Greater conceptual clarity in the study of IWS is needed to understand the mechanisms via which societal weight stigma impacts on individuals' self-directed judgments and downstream health-related behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalBody Image
Early online date7 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Bifactor analysis
  • Body image
  • Disordered eating
  • Internalized weight stigma
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-judgment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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