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Body Image. 2010 Mar;7(2):143-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2009.11.005. Epub 2010 Jan 20.

Individual differences and weight bias: Do people with an anti-fat bias have a pro-thin bias?

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Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, United States.


While levels of weight bias vary among individuals, it is not clear why one person possesses stronger anti-fat attitudes than another person. This investigation examined whether individual differences commonly associated with greater anti-fat bias are also associated with a greater preference for thinness among people of varying levels of weight. Young adults (62% women; 84% Caucasian) recruited from psychology classes (N=308) rated four male and female figures with approximate BMIs of 18.5, 25, 30, and 40, on measures of dislike and personality characteristics and completed measures assessing weight controllability, attitudes toward the obese, and perceptual reliance. Greater negative attitudes, weight controllability beliefs, and perceptual reliance were positively associated with greater dislike and negative personality attributes among obese/severely obese figures, but inversely related among low normal weight figures. Individuals who judge others based on physical features or who view obesity as controllable evidence greater weight bias and a stronger preference for thin body types.

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