Abstract

Why do millions of consumers in the United States struggling with the consequences of overconsumption believe that membership in a support group is crucial to their well-being? We examine how Weight Watchers, the world’s largest support group, aids its members’ attempts at managing their overweight condition. This article advances the view that in the United States, support groups that are organized around issues of overconsumption, such as Weight Watchers, resonate with members’ quest for well-being in light of the spiritual-therapeutic model. The spiritual-therapeutic model denotes the understanding of well-being inscribed within the contemporary American cultural milieu. We find that among Weight Watchers members in the United States, the support group acts as a venue for angst-alleviating therapeutic confession, fosters the enactment of the support group as a benevolent system of therapeutic oversight, and facilitates a revitalizing practice of autotherapeutic testimonial.

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