‘‘Now my ‘old self’ is thin’’: Stigma Exits after Weight Loss.

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    • Abstract:
      In this article, I employ a structural symbolic interaction framework to examine the processes by which persons can exit a stigmatized identity. Using the empirical example of weight loss, I analyze how individuals evolve from an identity as ‘‘fat’’ and stigmatized to one that is ‘‘normal’’ with respect to weight and free from identification with stigmatizing self-labels. The results suggest that stigma exits are possible but not easy and that simply sustaining weight loss over time does not necessarily produce an exit from stigma. Instead, stigma exits require evolutions in the responses of significant others and shifts in the way exiters view themselves. Moreover, individuals vary in the intensity of their identification with stigma and this is associated with the kinds of obstacles they find most troublesome as they attempt to exit stigma. Finally, I discuss the application of these findings to theories of structural symbolic interaction and to other forms of stigma. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]
    • Abstract:
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