Unprompted generation of obesity stereotypes

Geri Horsburgh-McLeod, J. D. Latner, K. S. O'Brien

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Prejudice towards obese people is widespread and has negative consequences for individuals with obesity. The present study covertly examined whether participants spontaneously generate different written transcript content (i.e., more negative stereotypes) when presented with a picture of an obese person or a normal-weight person. Two pictures of young women were computer generated to appear identical in all features except for body shape, which was either obese or normal-weight. Forty-nine women blind to the nature of the study were randomized to receive either the obese or normal-weight picture and asked to write a free-response description of a typical "day in the life" of the woman depicted. Independent coding of the transcripts revealed more frequent negative stereotypes and more negative valence generated by participants asked to describe a typical day of the obese target. These differences are consistent with the prevalent negative stereotypes of obese individuals. ©2009, Editrice Kurtis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e153-e157
    JournalEating and Weight Disorders
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Free-response
    • Obesity
    • Stereotypes
    • Stigmatization
    • Weight bias


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