An examination of the construction of meanings for obesity in Ireland

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dc.contributor.advisor McCarthy, Mary en
dc.contributor.author De Brún, Aoife
dc.date.accessioned 2014-02-19T14:59:57Z
dc.date.issued 2013
dc.date.submitted 2013
dc.identifier.citation De Brún, A. 2013. An examination of the construction of meanings for obesity in Ireland. PhD Thesis, University College Cork. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/1397
dc.description.abstract Obesity has been defined as a consequence of energy imbalance, where energy intake exceeds energy expenditure and results in a build-up of adipose tissue. However, this scientific definition masks the complicated social meanings associated with the condition. This research investigated the construction of meaning around obesity at various levels of inquiry to inform how obesity is portrayed and understood in Ireland. A multi-paradigmatic approach was adopted, drawing on theory and methods from psychology and sociology and an analytical framework combining the Common Sense Model and framing theory was employed. In order to examine the exo-level meanings of obesity, content analysis was performed on two media data sets (n=479, n=346) and a thematic analysis was also performed on the multiple newspaper sample (n=346). At the micro-level, obesity discourses were investigated via the thematic analysis of comments sampled from an online message board. Finally, an online survey assessed individual-level beliefs and understandings of obesity. The media analysis revealed that individual blame for obesity was pervasive and the behavioural frame was dominant. A significant increase in attention to obesity over time was observed, manifestations of weight stigma were common, and there was an emotive discourse of blame directed towards the parents of obese children. The micro-level analysis provided insight into the weight-based stigma in society and a clear set of negative ‘default’ judgements accompanied the obese label. The survey analysis confirmed that the behavioural frame was the dominant means of understanding obesity. One of the strengths of this thesis is the link created between framing and the Common Sense Model in the development of an analytical framework for application in the examination of health/illness representations. This approach helped to ascertain the extent of the pervasive biomedical and individual blame discourse on obesity, which establishes the basis for the stigmatisation of obese persons. en
dc.description.sponsorship Health Research Board (HRC/2007/13); en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher University College Cork en
dc.rights © 2013, Aoife De Brún en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ en
dc.subject Media en
dc.subject Weight en
dc.subject Social media en
dc.subject Social construction of meaning en
dc.subject.lcsh Obesity en
dc.title An examination of the construction of meanings for obesity in Ireland en
dc.type Doctoral thesis en
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en
dc.type.qualificationname PhD (Commerce) en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.check.info Please note that Chapter 9 (pp. 300-335) of this thesis is currently unavailable due to a restriction requested by the author. en
dc.check.date 10000-01-01
dc.description.version Accepted Version
dc.contributor.funder Health Research Board en
dc.contributor.funder Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Ireland en
dc.description.status Not peer reviewed en
dc.internal.school Food Business and Development en
dc.check.reason This thesis is due for publication or the author is actively seeking to publish this material en
dc.check.opt-out No en
dc.thesis.opt-out true
dc.check.chapterOfThesis 9
dc.check.embargoformat E-thesis on CORA only en
ucc.workflow.supervisor m.mccarthy@ucc.ie
dc.internal.conferring Autumn Conferring 2013 en


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© 2013, Aoife De Brún Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2013, Aoife De Brún
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