Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Weight stigma, obesity, cardiovascular health, blood pressure, heart rate, cardiovascular reactivity

Major Advisor

Linda S. Pescatello, PhD

Co-Major Advisor

Beth A. Taylor, PhD

Associate Advisor

Rebecca M. Puhl, PhD

Associate Advisor

Crystal A. Park, PhD

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Weight stigmatization is associated with adverse cardiovascular health consequences that may be partially due to the heightened cardiovascular reactivity that accompanies both obesity and hypertension. PURPOSE: We examined the influence of two video exposures, one depicting scenes of weight stigma (STIGMA) and the other non-stigmatizing neutral (NEUTRAL) scenes, on cardiovascular reactivity assessed by resting blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR), and ambulatory BP (ABP) and ambulatory HR (AHR), among women with obesity and high BP (HBP; n=24) or normal BP (NBP; n=25). METHODS: Women completed a screening visit and two randomized visits which involved watching a 10-min STIGMA and NEUTRAL video. Laboratory BP and HR were measured before, during, and following the videos. ABP and HR were measured upon leaving the laboratory for awake (10hr), sleep (9hr), and 19hr. A repeated measures ANCOVA tested differences in the BP and HR changes from baseline in the laboratory and over ambulatory conditions between the two BP groups after STIGMA versus NEUTRAL controlling for BMI and baseline BP and HR. RESULTS: Women with HBP (systolic/diastolic BP [SBP/DBP]=122.9±13.6/73.5±11.2mmHg) were 37.5±9.1yr with obesity (Body Mass Index [BMI]=37.8±6.1kg•m2). Women with NBP (SBP/DBP=106.9±7.4/65.0±7.1mmHg) were 34.1±8.9yr with obesity (BMI=33.6±4.9kg•m2). Laboratory SBP/DBP increased 5.5+7.3/2.4+8.8mmHg more in HBP than NBP after STIGMA versus NEUTRAL (PsP>0.05). ABP increased more in HBP than NBP over sleep (SBP/DBP=4.2+20.6/4.7+14.2mmHg; Ps PsPCONCLUSIONS: Exposure to a weight stigma video resulted in heightened cardiovascular reactivity among women with obesity and HBP than NBP in the laboratory and under ambulatory conditions. Our findings support the adverse cardiovascular health consequences of weight stigmatization and indicate the need for training programs to mitigate these unfavorable effects.

Available for download on Saturday, January 16, 2021