Assessing Women's Negative Commentary on Their Own Bodies: A Psychometric Investigation of the Negative Body Talk Scale

Renee Engeln*, Rachel H. Salk, Steven A. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Our article details the development of the self-report Negative Body Talk (NBT) scale and five studies (all conducted with samples of U.S. undergraduate women) supporting the psychometric soundness of scores on this measure. The NBT scale measures women's tendency to engage in negatively valenced commentary about the weight and shape of their own bodies (including upward comparisons that comprise implicit negative commentary) when speaking with others. Two subscales were identified using a combination of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. The body concerns subscale assesses women's tendency to make comments expressing worries over the size/shape of their bodies. The body comparison subscale assesses women's tendency to vocalize unfavorable comparisons of their body with the bodies of other women. Scores on the NBT scale demonstrated strong internal consistency and moderate test-retest reliability with these samples of U.S. college women. Evidence of convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity is presented. The NBT scale may be useful in the growing body of research examining how the social norm of women expressing body dissatisfaction in conversation with others both reflects and fuels body image disturbance in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-178
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012


  • body image
  • body image disturbances
  • fat talk
  • interpersonal communication
  • measurement
  • physical appearance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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