This research was supported by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship awarded to the first author, and a research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council awarded to the second author. The authors thank Lisa Lutwak and Krysten Milne for their assistance in data coding for Study 2.
What's in a Name? The Effects of the Labels “Fat” Versus “Overweight” on Weight Bias1
Article first published online: 12 AUG 2011
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 41, Issue 8, pages 1981–2008, August 2011
How to Cite
BROCHU, P. M. and ESSES, V. M. (2011), What's in a Name? The Effects of the Labels “Fat” Versus “Overweight” on Weight Bias. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41: 1981–2008. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00786.x
- Issue published online: 12 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 12 AUG 2011
This research examined the effects of the labels “fat” vs. “overweight” in the expression of weight bias, with the prediction that the label “fat” biases individuals to respond more negatively than does the label “overweight.” In Study 1, participants' attitudes toward people labeled as fat were less favorable than were their attitudes toward people labeled as overweight. In Studies 2 and 3, although participants chose similar-sized figures to depict fat and overweight targets, weight stereotypes and weight attitudes were more negative toward people labeled as fat than those labeled as overweight. In addition, the endorsement of weight stereotypes mediated the biasing effect of the “fat” label on weight prejudice. Implications of this work for prejudice researchers and for public attitudes are discussed.