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J Appl Psychol. 2007 Jan;92(1):239-49.

Expectations of obese trainees: how stigmatized trainee characteristics influence training effectiveness.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1104, USA.


This study identifies stigma as a potential precursor to self-fulfilling prophecies in training interactions. Expectations held by leaders often result in actions that elicit expectancy-confirming behaviors from their subordinates. The results of the present study suggest that trainee weight (manipulated with a photograph depicting the trainee as either obese or average weight for height) influenced female trainer expectations and evaluations of the training and trainee. Furthermore, the results suggest that negative expectations held by trainers were related to trainee evaluations of the training and the trainer and, for less flexible trainers, to decrements in trainee performance on the trained task. Overall, the results suggest that trainer expectations can be influenced by stereotypes held about trainee characteristics, thus undermining training effectiveness.

2007 APA, all rights reserved

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