The impact of personal metaphors and memorable interpersonal communication on body satisfaction

Jenn Anderson, Mary J. Bresnahan, Briana N. Deangelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Memorable messages about body size can have profound negative psychological and emotional effects on body image and personal health. We found that both men and women recalled more negative than positive memorable messages about their body appearance and size. Participants who reported receiving negative memorable messages also revealed stronger current body dissatisfaction and poorer self-image than participants who reported positive memorable messages. Participants who received negative body comments also described their own body using negative metaphors. Negative memorable messages often occurred in front of third parties who expressed approval for the message, sometimes in the form of laughter. We discuss the mental health consequences of negative messages about body size and the implications for public health campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-737
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • body image
  • communication
  • community and public health
  • obesity / overweight
  • stigma


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