Scholarly/Scientific Articles

 

Reviews

Puhl, R. M., & Heuer, C. A. (2009). The stigma of obesity: a review and update. Obesity (Silver Spring), 17(5), 941-964. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.636  (Click here for full text)

Nutter, S., Ireland, A., Alberga, A. S., Brun, I., Lefebvre, D., Hayden, K. A., & Russell-Mayhew, S. (2019). Weight Bias in Educational Settings: a Systematic Review. Curr Obes Rep, 8(2), 185-200. doi:10.1007/s13679-019-00330-8 (Click here for full text)

Hill, A. J., Rodriguez Lopez, R., & Caterson, I. D. (2019). The relationship between obesity and tertiary education outcomes: a systematic review. Int J Obes (Lond), 43(11), 2125-2133. doi:10.1038/s41366-018-0256-1

Weight Bias at Home and School

Other

Allison, M. and C. Lee (2015). “Too fat, too thin: Understanding bias against overweight and underweight in an Australian female university student sample.” Psychology & Health 30(2): 189-202.

Objective: We compare attribution and social comparison theories as potential explanations for attitudes towards overweight and underweight targets among Australian university students. Design: 185 female students (median age 18) completed a measure of body image state, then read one of six vignettes, describing a female student who was underweight, average weight or overweight, and who did or did not have a medical condition affecting weight. Independent variables were target weight (underweight, average-weight, overweight); weight controllability (no information, uncontrollable); and participant body image (higher, lower). Main outcome measures: Participants evaluated the target on six characteristics derived from existing research on weight bias, on seven-point Likert scales: attractive; healthy; likeable; motivated; self-disciplined; having willpower. Results: A three-way between-participants multivariate analysis of covariance was conducted, with post hoc comparisons of significant effects. Overweight targets were rated more negatively than average-weight and underweight targets. Uncontrollability (medical) information produced more positive evaluations of the overweight target, but more negative evaluations of the underweight target. Ratings of the average-weight target were not influenced by uncontrollability information. Participant body image state had no significant effects. Conclusion: Results provided partial support for attribution theory, but not for social comparison theory, as an explanation of weight bias. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Blanton, C., et al. (2016). “Weight bias in university health professions students.” Journal of Allied Health 45(3): 212-218.

Negative attitudes toward people with high body weight have been documented in pre-professional health students, prompting concern that such feelings may manifest as poor patient care in professional practice. This study assessed weight bias in university students in the non-physician health professions. A convenience sample of 206 students completed an online survey composed of a validated 14- item scale (1-5 lowest to highest weight bias) and questions regarding personal experiences of weight bias. Respondents were grouped by discipline within graduate and undergraduate levels. Weight bias was present in a majority of respondents. Overall, the percentage of responses Indicative of weight bias was 92.7%. The mean total score was 3.65. ± 0.52, and the rating exceeded 3 for all 14 scale descriptors of high-weight people. In graduate students, discipline had a significant main effect on total score (p = 0.01), with lower scores in dietetics (3.17 ± 0.46) vs audiology/sign language/speech language pathology (3.84 ± 0.41) and physician assistant students (3.78 ± 0.51; p < 0.05). These findings show that weight bias is prevalent in health professions students at a mountain west university. Well-controlled studies that track students into professional practice would help determine whether bias-reduction interventions in college improve provider behaviors and clinical outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Brochu, P. M. (2020). “Testing the effectiveness of a weight bias educational intervention among clinical psychology trainees.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Weight bias is a neglected issue in the health professions, including mental health training programs. Even though mental health professionals exhibit many of the same weight biases that are seen at the societal level and among other health professionals, mental health programs rarely provide training on weight bias, weight diversity, or critical weight science. No study to date has tested the effectiveness of a weight bias reduction intervention in a mental health setting. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a weight bias seminar informed by the attribution‐value model of prejudice. Using a pretest‐posttest design, 45 clinical psychology trainees completed measures of weight controllability beliefs, anti‐fat attitudes, and attitudes toward fat clients 1 week before and 1 week after the weight bias seminar. After the weight bias seminar, participants reported weaker weight controllability beliefs, anti‐fat attitudes, and negative client attitudes. Furthermore, weight controllability beliefs mediated the effect of the weight bias seminar on participants’ general anti‐fat attitudes and client‐specific attitudes. Thus, this study identifies weight controllability beliefs as a potential mechanism underlying the efficacy of educational weight bias interventions in mental health training programs. Future weight bias educational interventions may benefit from application of the attribution‐value model of prejudice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Brewis, A., et al. (2016). “Weight stigma and eating behaviors on a college campus: Are students immune to stigma’s effects?” Prev Med Rep 4: 578-584.

College populations are groups of emerging adults undergoing significant transitions in eating and diet, being exposed to new social influences; many experience weight gain. Theoretically, college campuses should be places where weight stigma is evident and matters for dietary decision-making. We present the findings from two studies conducted within the same college population at a large public university, including anthropometric measures of body mass. Study 1 included two different measures of weight stigma (implicit and explicit) and measures of weight-control eating behaviors and fruit and vegetable consumption in a randomized representative sample of 204 students. Study 2 included a measure of weight responsibility and multiple measures of eating (food frequency, alcohol intake, and 24-hour dietary recalls), among freshman students (n = 202, n = 157 with 24-hour dietary recalls). Study 1 showed that the three types of stigmas were prevalent. Study 2 had a high prevalence of weight stigma attitudes and demonstrated the occurrence of unhealthful eating and binge drinking behaviors. Both studies found no relationship between weight stigma/responsibility and eating behaviors regardless of weight status. Beyond considering limitations of the study design, we propose two possible reasons for college students’ relative immunity to the effects of weight stigma. Those with very high levels of stigma could be suppressing stigmatizing attitudes based on what they think others think is acceptable in a liberal college setting, or the chaotic form of “normal” eating in this population hides the effects of weight stigma.

 

Brewis, A. A. and M. Bruening (2018). “Weight Shame, Social Connection, and Depressive Symptoms in Late Adolescence.” Int J Environ Res Public Health 15(5).

Child and adolescent obesity is increasingly the focus of interventions, because it predicts serious disease morbidity later in life. However, social environments that permit weight-related stigma and body shame may make weight control and loss more difficult. Rarely do youth obesity interventions address these complexities. Drawing on repeated measures in a large sample (N = 1443) of first-year (freshman), campus-resident university students across a nine-month period, we model how weight-related shame predicts depressive symptom levels, how being overweight (assessed by anthropometric measures) shapes that risk, and how social connection (openness to friendship) might mediate/moderate. Body shame directly, clearly, and repeatedly predicts depression symptom levels across the whole school year for all students, but overweight youth have significantly elevated risk. Social connections mediate earlier in the school year, and in all phases moderate, body shame effects on depression. Youth obesity interventions would be well-served recognizing and incorporating the influential roles of social-environmental factors like weight stigma and friendship in program design.

 

Cheng, M. Y., et al. (2018). “The relationships between weight bias, perceived weight stigma, eating behavior, and psychological distress among undergraduate students in Hong Kong.” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 206(9): 705-710.

Weight bias issues are rarely discussed in Asia. Therefore, we examined the relationships between weight bias, perceived weight stigma (PWS), eating behavior, and psychological distress among Hong Kong people. Using cross-sectional design, 400 undergraduate students (175 men) completed questionnaires and were assigned into a self-reported overweight (n = 61) or nonoverweight group (n = 339) using body mass index, and a self-perceived overweight (n = 84) or nonoverweight group (n = 316) based on self-perception. For self-reported and self-perceived overweight groups, more weight bias was related to higher depression (β = −0.403; p = 0.004). Self-perceived group additionally showed that weight bias was related to PWS and inappropriate eating behaviors; PWS related to inappropriate eating behaviors. For self-reported and self-perceived nonoverweight groups, weight bias was related to PWS, inappropriate eating behaviors, anxiety, and depression (β = −0.228 to −0.148; p’s < 0.05); PWS was associated with inappropriate eating behaviors, anxiety, and depression. Thus, weight bias issues should not be ignored for both overweight and nonoverweight people. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Darling, R. and A. S. Atav (2019). “Attitudes Toward Obese People: A Comparative Study of Nursing, Education, and Social Work Students.” J Prof Nurs 35(2): 138-146.

BACKGROUND: Stigmatization and bias toward the obese population has been studied globally in a variety of professional groups, supporting the existence of negative attitudes and weight bias against this population. Attitudes fostering the prevalence of stigmatization undermine the effectiveness and quality of health care. Studies have not compared attitudes and beliefs of graduate and undergraduate students from professional schools within the same university. As an exemplar, this study compared nursing students’ attitudes and beliefs toward obese individuals with students’ attitudes in other professional schools. METHODS: The Attitudes Toward Obese Persons and Beliefs About Obese Persons scales were administered to undergraduate and graduate nursing students and graduate education and social work students at a US northeastern university. RESULTS: Analyses indicated students who were younger; in nursing programs; and reported not having a friend or family member who is overweight had significantly worse attitudes than others. Gender, location of residence, perceptions of own body weight, and participating in an exercise regimen were not significant. CONCLUSION: Understanding attitudes toward obese people may guide educators as they train nursing, education, and social work students. Reducing negative attitudes, beliefs, and stigmatization is an important starting point in the battle against this growing public health concern.

 

Harper, J. and R. A. Carels (2014). “Impact of social pressure on stereotypes about obese people.” Eating and Weight Disorders 19(3): 355-361.

Purpose: This study was designed to test the effects of different types of influence on the expression of stereotypes towards people who are obese. It was hypothesized that public social pressure would more significantly impact the expression of stereotypes towards obese people than other types of influence. Methods: One-hundred fifty-eight undergraduate students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions or a control condition. Participants completed measures of stereotypes towards obese people prior to and after receiving manipulated feedback depicting purported stereotypes possessed by others (anonymously or publically) or scientific information about the base rates of these stereotypical traits in the obese population (i.e., trait prevalence). Participants also completed a measure of weight bias unrelated to the manipulated feedback. Results: Explicit beliefs were influenced more when people perceived that others’ views were inconsistent with their own in a public setting than an anonymous setting or when they received trait prevalence feedback. However, levels of weight bias on a separate measure were unchanged. Conclusion: Strong, public manipulations of social feedback have great potential to impact, at least, the short-term expression of stereotypes towards obese people. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Hill, A. J., et al. (2019). “The relationship between obesity and tertiary education outcomes: A systematic review.” International Journal of Obesity 43(11): 2125-2133.

Previous reviews have documented an overall weak or uncertain association between obesity and school-based educational attainment in children and young people. However, up to half of young adults will go on to further college or university education by age 30. The study aim was to systematically review evidence on the association between obesity and tertiary education outcomes in young men and women. A search of multiple databases, including Embase, Global Health, ERIC, Medline, PsycInfo, and Science Citation Index was conducted in March 2018. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were included that reported on young people aged 16+, an association between obesity and academic achievement, and a comparison to healthy weight students. Risk of bias was assessed using criteria from the STROBE checklist. From 1297 records, 16 studies met all inclusion criteria. All six cross-sectional studies and 8/10 longitudinal studies reported lower educational achievement by students with obesity. All longitudinal studies were at low risk of bias but four cross-sectional studies were at medium risk and two at high risk of bias. Three of four studies showed reduced enrolment, in 6/8 graduation was less likely, and all 6 studies reporting on performance showed this was lower in those with obesity. Five of nine studies reported that obesity had a greater impact on educational achievement for women. Overall, there is compelling evidence of weight bias in that students with obesity do less well in tertiary education than their healthy weight peers. It is likely that university/college attainment is less impacted by socio-economic factors than school-based achievement. A better understanding of the processes that underpin this weight bias is needed, including stakeholder (student, staff) experiences of weight stigma, perceived or enacted. Responsive actions could mirror those to address disability or gender bias, or in health promotion in tertiary education settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Incollingo Rodriguez, A. C., et al. (2019). “Body mass index and educational inequality: An update of Crandall (1995).” Stigma and Health 4(3): 357-363.

Over 2 decades ago, social psychological research revealed that weight stigma may undermine educational achievement. This study documented that a greater proportion of college students were thin compared with the general population and that heavier females received less college financial support from parents than thinner females (Crandall, 1995). Although frequently cited, there is no current literature on these phenomena despite major changes since the 1990s including a much higher prevalence of obesity and the economic downturn known as the ‘Great Recession.’ Thus, in the interest of pursuing replicable science, the present study examined the role of weight stigma in higher education in 2 studies using ethnically diverse samples of first-year college students. We found that the average Body Mass Index (BMI) and BMI distribution in our samples were still significantly lower than a nationally representative sample, regardless of gender and ethnicity. We also found that, among females, self-funded students had higher BMIs than parent-funded students. In one sample, this was also the case for males. Together these findings suggest that not only are heavy young adults perhaps less likely to be in college than their thin counterparts, but they may also receive less support from their parents. This points to the possibility that weight stigma may undermine educational achievement in today’s youth, which could have negative downstream consequences for lifelong socioeconomic, health, and well-being outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

Kenney, E. L., et al. (2017). “Are K-12 school environments harming students with obesity? A qualitative study of classroom teachers.” Eat Weight Disord 22(1): 141-152.

PURPOSE: Weight bias can negatively impact health, and schools may be risky environments for students with obesity. We aimed to explore teachers’ perceptions of the school experiences and academic challenges of students with obesity. METHODS: We conducted interviews with 22 teachers in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and Midwest in July-August 2014. All interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed for important themes by two researchers using the immersion/crystallization approach. RESULTS: Most teachers felt that students with obesity were more likely to have academic difficulties. Two main perceptions of the reasons for these difficulties emerged: (1) obesity led to lower self-esteem that caused students to participate less, and (2) poorer nutrition, increased screen time, and reduced physical activity were simultaneously causing obesity and poorer academic performance. A few teachers described colleagues who felt students with obesity were not as motivated to work hard in school as their peers. Many teachers described school health promotion efforts focused on weight reduction that could exacerbate weight stigma and risk of disordered eating. CONCLUSIONS: Students with obesity, particularly girls, may be at risk for negative social and academic experiences in K-12 schools and may be perceived as struggling academically by their teachers.

 

Kim, J. and J. L. Jarry (2014). “Holding fat stereotypes is associated with lower body dissatisfaction in normal weight Caucasian women who engage in body surveillance.” Body Image 11(4): 331-336.

This study examined the moderating effect of body surveillance on the relationship between fat stereotype endorsement and body dissatisfaction in normal weight women. Participants (N = 225) completed online measures of fat stereotyping, body surveillance, body dissatisfaction, and internalized thin ideals. After accounting for thin ideals, body surveillance moderated the relationship between fat stereotypes and body dissatisfaction. Contrary to hypotheses, higher fat stereotype endorsement predicted lower body dissatisfaction in women with higher body surveillance. Conversely, higher fat stereotype endorsement predicted greater body dissatisfaction in women with lower body surveillance. Thus, endorsing fat stereotypes appears protective against body dissatisfaction in normal weight women who extensively engage in body surveillance. For women who hold fat stereotypes and report high body surveillance, we propose that downward appearance comparison may create a contrast between themselves and the people with overweight whom they denigrate, thus improving body dissatisfaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Koball, A. M. and R. A. Carels (2015). “Intergroup contact and weight bias reduction.” Translational Issues in Psychological Science 1(3): 298-306.

Despite a current obesity epidemic in the United States, negative attitudes toward overweight and obese individuals are widespread. Interventions aimed at reducing antifat attitudes have produced mixed results. One approach that has successfully reduced prejudiced attitudes toward discriminated individuals is intergroup contact (e.g., direct, imagined, and vicarious positive contact with a member of the discriminated group). Despite its success with other forms of bias reduction, limited research has examined intergroup contact with regard to weight bias. The current study examined whether and how various forms of intergroup contact can reduce weight bias and increase intentions to interact with obese persons among normal weight participants and whether intergroup anxiety mediated this relationship. One hundred fifty-six self-reported normal weight individuals between the ages of 18 and 23 were randomized into 1 of 3 experimental conditions that manipulated intergroup contact or a control group. The direct contact group had lower levels of weight bias and increased behavioral intentions to interact with obese persons than the indirect conditions (i.e., imagined and vicarious) and control group. Moreover, intergroup anxiety was found to mediate this relationship. This study highlights the potential importance of using positive, meaningful contact between people of different body sizes as a tool to reduce negative attitudes and stereotypes about overweight. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Li, W. and P. Rukavina (2009). “A review on coping mechanisms against obesity bias in physical activity/education settings.” Obes Rev 10(1): 87-95.

Obesity bias such as teasing or weight criticism during physical activity can lead to psychological or emotional damage for overweight or obese individuals. The literature indicates that the adverse effects of stigmatization on overweight or obese individuals can be mediated by coping mechanisms. However, little is known about how overweight or obese children and adolescents cope with weight stigma in physical activity/education settings. This paper provides a conceptual analysis of coping mechanisms through reviewing work on weight stigma in psychology literature and discusses the future research directions. The most promising areas for future research include conducting an in-depth qualitative exploration of overweight or obese individuals’ coping mechanisms against obesity bias and studying potential individual and situational factors as moderating variables in physical activity/education settings.

 

McClure Brenchley, K. J. and D. M. Quinn (2016). “Weight-based rejection sensitivity: Scale development and implications for well-being.” Body Image 16: 79-92.

We integrated theories of social stigma and rejection sensitivity to develop a new construct for understanding the effects of day-to-day experiences of interpersonal weight stigma: weight-based rejection sensitivity (W-RS), or a tendency to anxiously expect weight-based rejection. We created a new scale to measure W-RS. Studies 1 and 2 together established the scale as valid and reliable in a college student population. Study 3 examined the outcomes and predictive validity of W-RS by testing the effects of W-RS longitudinally across college students’ first semester. Those who were high in W-RS were found to be at additional risk for compromised psychological and physical well-being over time. W-RS also predicted poorer adjustment to college. Overall, W-RS could help to explain individual reactions to stigma and to predict when weight stigmatization may have a greater likelihood of impacting a target. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Nutter, S., et al. (2019). “Weight Bias in Educational Settings: a Systematic Review.” Curr Obes Rep 8(2): 185-200.

PURPOSE: To conduct a systematic literature review of empirical peer-reviewed published studies on the prevalence of weight bias among students, pre-service, and in-service teachers and its impact on the educational experiences and health of students from kindergarten to postsecondary settings. METHODS: Keywords were searched on three main concepts, (i) weight bias/stigma, (ii) obesity/overweight, and (iii) education, within eight databases. Our search yielded 8323 individual records, of which 45 studies satisfied our inclusion criteria. RESULTS: Most studies were conducted in K-12 school settings (n = 41), were quantitative in design (n = 37), and used student samples (n = 18). Weight bias is prevalent in educational settings, among peers at school as well as pre-service and in-service teachers, and negatively impacts students’ health and educational experiences. CONCLUSION: These results highlighted the impact of weight bias in creating inequity for students with obesity as well as several underexamined areas, such as weight bias in postsecondary settings and attitudes among teachers and pre-service teachers. Innovative strategies to address weight bias in educational settings are needed.

 

Penney, E. and C. Lawsin (2013). “Application of the MODE model to implicit weight prejudice and its influence on expressed and actual behavior among college students.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 43(Suppl 2): E229-E236.

Weight prejudice and discrimination were examined in students, using the motivation and opportunity as determinants (MODE) model. The personalized Implicit Association Test (pIAT) and Motivation to Control Prejudiced Reactions (MCPR) scale were used to predict subsequent expressed and actual behavior, measured by an election task and a lost e-mail task. Thematic analysis of qualitative responses was conducted to determine reasons participants discriminated against obesity. The MODE model did not predict the prejudice–behavior relationship; however, expressed weight prejudice and discrimination were highly prevalent. Of the participants, 21.2% explicitly stated that candidates’ weight influenced their voting behavior. The MODE model was concluded to be an inappropriate model for weight prejudice. Implications for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Purton, T., et al. (2019). “Body dissatisfaction, internalized weight bias and quality of life in young men and women.” Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care & Rehabilitation.

Purpose: We examined the relative importance of body dissatisfaction (BD) and internalized weight bias (IWB) in accounting for variance in quality of life (QoL) impairment in an ethnically diverse sample of college students (n = 630) and potential moderation of these associations by sex.Methods: Participants completed an online survey that included established measures of BD, IWB and QoL. Regression models were used to examine the relative contributions of BD and IWB in accounting for variance in physical and mental QoL impairment.Results: BD and IWB were highly correlated with bivariate analysis in both women (r = .76) and men (r = .60). In multivariable analysis, IWB was found to be associated with both physical (b = − 1.33, 95% CI − 1.93, − 0.72) and mental (b = − 2.58, 95% CI − 3.45, − 1.72) QoL impairment, whilst BD was not associated with impairment in either physical (b = − 0.29, 95% CI − 0.68, 0.09) or mental (b = − 0.48, 95% CI − 1.03, 0.07) QoL. While levels of both BD and IWB were higher for women than for men, sex did not moderate the association between either BD or IWB and either physical or mental QoL.Conclusions: The findings support the view that IWB warrants greater attention in interventions seeking to reduce the adverse impact of BD in both women and men and both normal-weight and overweight individuals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Robinson, E. L., et al. (2014). “Obesity bias among health and non-health students attending an Australian university and their perceived obesity education.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 46(5): 390-395.

Objective: This study compared the level of prejudice against obese individuals (obesity bias) among final-year health and non-health students, and associated obesity education. Methods: Cross-sectional online survey of 479 final-year students (292 health and 187 non-health) from Griffith University, Australia. Implicit and explicit obesity bias was measured using validated tools, and perceived obesity education ranked from ‘none’ to ‘excellent.’ Data were analyzed quantitatively using analysis of variance and independent sample t tests. Statistical significance was set at P < .05. Results: Students’ mean age was 26.2 ± 7.6 years and body mass index was 23.2 ± 4.7 kg/m². Health and non-health students exhibited significant levels of obesity bias. Non-health students were more likely to suggest that obese individuals lacked willpower (P = .03). Students’ self-reported obesity education varied considerably. Those who reported a higher level of genetics-related obesity education were less likely to believe that obese individuals were ‘bad’ (P = .002) or to show concern about putting on weight (P = .01). Conclusions and Implications: Obesity bias exists in health students in Australia and is similar to non-health students’ obesity bias levels. Students’ self-reported genetics-related obesity education may be associated with obesity bias. Modifications to existing health curricula should be considered to reduce obesity bias among future health professionals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Smirles, K. E. and L. Lin (2018). “Changes in anti-fat weight bias in women after exposure to thin and plus-sized models.” The Social Science Journal 55(2): 193-197.

We examined whether exposing women to female models with different body sizes lead to changes in weight-based attitudes and whether evaluation focus altered the effects. Female college students (N = 214) were exposed to 22 images of either thin or overweight models. Participants rated models on either appearance or non-appearance characteristics and completed measures of anti-fat attitudes, thin ideal internalization, and demographics. Participants rated thin and overweight models equally attractive and sexy. Viewing overweight models showed a significant reduction in anti-fat attitudes. There were no effects for thin models or evaluation ratings. Discussion focuses on the implications of positive images of overweight individuals on social attitudes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Swami, V. and R. Monk (2013). “Weight bias against women in a university acceptance scenario.” Journal of General Psychology 140(1): 45-56.

This study examined weight bias against women in a hypothetical university acceptance scenario. One-hundred-and-ninety-eight volunteers from the community in Britain completed a weight bias measure in which they were asked to select the woman they were most and least likely to select for a place at university from an array of figures varying in body size. Participants also completed the Anti-Fat Attitudes Survey, the Short-Form of the Fat Phobia Scale, the Attitudes Toward Obese Persons Scale, and the Beliefs About Obese Persons Scale. Results showed that participants were biased against both obese (> 30 kg/m²) and emaciated (<15 kg/m²) women. Further analyses showed that weight bias was only significantly predicted by greater antipathy toward fat persons and more negative attitudes toward obese persons. These results provide evidence that the general public hold biased beliefs about access to higher educational opportunities as a function of the body size of applicants. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Webb, J. B., et al. (2016). “‘You better not leave me shaming!’: Conditional indirect effect analyses of anti-fat attitudes, body shame, and fat talk as a function of self-compassion in college women.” Body Image 18: 5-13.

The present investigation provided a theoretically-driven analysis testing whether body shame helped account for the predicted positive associations between explicit weight bias in the form of possessing anti-fat attitudes (i.e., dislike, fear of fat, and willpower beliefs) and engaging in fat talk among 309 weight-diverse college women. We also evaluated whether self-compassion served as a protective factor in these relationships. Robust non-parametric bootstrap resampling procedures adjusted for body mass index (BMI) revealed stronger indirect and conditional indirect effects for dislike and fear of fat attitudes and weaker, marginal effects for the models inclusive of willpower beliefs. In general, the indirect effect of anti-fat attitudes on fat talk via body shame declined with increasing levels of self-compassion. Our preliminary findings may point to useful process variables to target in mitigating the impact of endorsing anti-fat prejudice on fat talk in college women and may help clarify who is at higher risk. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

 

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