Navigation Links
Magical thinking helps dieters cope with unrealistic expectations

Magical thinking, usually dismissed as nave and irrational, can actually help consumers cope with stressful situations like trying to lose weight, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Magical thinking occurs when an individual invokes mystical, supernatural forces to understand, predict, or even influence events to overcome these stressful situations," write authors Yannik St. James (HEC Montreal), Jay M. Handelman, and Shirley F. Taylor (both Queen's University, Kingston, Canada).

"Weight loss activities are stressful for a number of reasons: being overweight is associated with several negative health consequences as well as considerable social stigma," the authors write. "Consumers are expected to conform to unrealistic cultural ideals of slenderness and they are simultaneously enticed to indulge in abundant, highly caloric, processed food."

To cope with these conflicting pressures and expectations, consumers engage in various forms of magical thinking. They describe weight loss as being influenced by mysterious forces, such as a body that "conspires" against them or food that "seduces" them. They also hope that good deeds will be rewarded (like eating chips without consequences after eating cabbage soup all day) and resort to "magical solutions" like fad diets. Finally, they try to fool the scale by changing to lighter clothing or exercising before being weighed.

These magical thinkers are not misinformed, the authors emphasize. "By invoking and negotiating with mystical forces, consumers actively work to create uncertainty and ambiguity as a way to generate hope and possibility in a cultural domain where they otherwise experience very little," the authors write.

The authors believe their findings should be of interest to consumer advocates and policy makers. "Programs directed at correcting fallacious consumer knowledge and enjoining consumers to exert greater self-control might be of limited value," the authors write. "Indeed, these approaches eliminate certain consumer coping strategies without affecting the source of stressthe cultural expectation to be thin in a culture that entices consumers with endless unhealthy food and lifestyle alternatives."


Contact: Mary-Ann Twist
University of Chicago Press Journals

Related medicine news :

1. A magical way to move kids
2. Medical Marijuana Might Slow Thinking Among MS Patients
3. For alcoholics, new help in abstaining -- without thinking about it
4. Warm Weather May Cloud Thinking in MS Patients
5. Overweight Kids Who Exercise Improve Thinking, Math Skills: Study
6. Fuzzy thinking could spot heart disease risk
7. Brain study shows that thinking about God reduces distress -- but only for believers
8. Blood Gives Clues to Executive Thinking Problems
9. Diet, Exercise Can Improve Thinking
10. Screening helps African-American students connect with school-based mental health services
11. Group therapy helps MS sufferers cope with depression, study finds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June ... , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to ... is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin ... injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his ... of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer ... unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid ... healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced ... attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 ... received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils ... an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic ... 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Research and ... Market for Companion Diagnostic Tests" report to their offering. ... for Companion Diagnostics The World Market for ... personalized medicine diagnostics. Market analysis in the report includes the ... Market (In Vitro Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today ... its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest ... possible value to their clients by offering a ... preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform ... MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ... clearance for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as ... or septic shock. With this clearance, Roche is the ... fully integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment and management. ... bacterial infection and PCT levels in blood can aid ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: