Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Trisha L. Raque

Second Advisor

Denis Dumas

Third Advisor

Lisa Brownstone


Mindfulness, Nursing students, Positive emotions, Self-compassion, Weight stigma


Weight stigma is a form of oppression that has been shown to have a detrimental impact on the well-being of people with higher weight. Healthcare providers are one of the most common sources of weight stigma, and their stigmatizing beliefs have been found to be associated with differential care for patients with “obesity”. The current study aimed to explore the feasibility of the loving-kindness meditation (LKM) as a brief intervention that reduces weight bias in nursing students by increasing self-compassion, positive, other-focused emotions, and cognitive flexibility, in order to improve compassionate care for patients with higher weight. Participants (189 nursing students) were randomly assigned to the LKM or a body scan mindfulness meditation before engaging in an implicit bias task and answering several self-report measures. Results indicated that participants in the LKM condition endorsed significantly higher levels of positive emotionality compared to those in the control condition. Furthermore, higher levels of self-compassion were shown to be related to lower levels of weight bias. Statistically significant differences in self-compassion, cognitive flexibility, weight bias, and compassionate care were not found between the groups. The current findings provide new information regarding the complexity of weight bias, suggesting the need to further explore the mechanisms that must be targeted to effectively reduce bias. Furthermore, this study offers a new direction for weight bias research by targeting one’s compassion towards the self as well as others.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Ellen C. Joseph

File size

163 pgs

File format





Counseling psychology, Nursing, Medicine