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Thesis Format



Master of Science




Calogero, Rachel M.


Much of the discrimination that higher-weight people face takes the form of microaggressions, which have yet to be quantitatively measured. Across five studies, I describe the development and validation of the Fat Microaggressions Scale (FMS). In Study 1, I created the initial item pool through examining previously published measures of experienced weight stigma, qualitative studies, and tweets using the #FatMicroaggressions hashtag. In Study 2, I conducted a Delphi review with fat activists and scholars to receive feedback on the scale. In Study 3, I provided initial evidence for a four-factor structure of the FMS through an exploratory factor analysis. In Study 4, I provided additional evidence of the scale’s structure through a confirmatory factor analysis, and construct validity. In Study 5, I further examined the scale’s validity and test-retest reliability. Together, this series of studies provided evidence for a new measure to further advance the study of weight stigma in the form of fat microaggressions.

Summary for Lay Audience

Higher-weight people are targets of discrimination because of their weight. This discrimination often takes the form of microaggressions, or everyday interactions, such as unsolicited comments on what someone is eating or fat jokes in the media. Research on other areas of microaggressions has demonstrated their harmful psychological, physiological, and behavioral effects. To investigate the effects of microaggressions towards higher-weight people, or fat microaggressions, we need a way to quantitatively measure them. This research describes the development and validation of the Fat Microaggressions Scale (FMS) through five studies. These studies demonstrated that the FMS is a reliable and valid instrument for research on weight prejudice and discrimination. The resulting scale will allow fat microaggression research to further progress and better understand the impact of fat microaggressions on higher-weight people.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Friday, August 25, 2023