Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Autumn Edwards

Second Advisor

Dr. Leigh Ford

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathy Propp

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This thesis examined the body weight discourse through interviews concerning memorable messages received prior to and after a period of weight loss, along with messages' effects on individuals' identities. As the communication of messages concerning body weight and identity had yet to be thoroughly examined, this study worked to illuminate how the discourse is communicated.

Emergent themes were discussed, such as pre-weight loss messages communicating a separate social identity, less social desirability, and advice about body weight. Post-weight messages themes of acknowledging a change in appearance, positive valuation of the change, and questions on the weight change were also examined. Finally, identity effects including diminished self worth, desired acceptance pre-weight loss, and identity reaffirmation, motivation, and reflection upon the body weight discourse were detailed.

Implications for these themes were discussed, including expanding upon existing research involving memorable messages, and the results' impacts for studying the body weight discourse.

Included in

Communication Commons