Background Anti-fat prejudice is widespread and pervades numerous areas of society including education, employment practice and medical health care and is a concern with considerable psychosocial costs. By using the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 1998) it has been found that health professionals and physical educators display significant implicit anti-fat attitudes. The purposes of this research was to examine the implicit and explicit attitudes toward obesity among a sample of university students, and to investigate the relationships with the psychosocial construct of the social dominance orientation. Materials and method Data were collected over two year period, undergraduate students of exercise sciences (n = 324), medicine (n = 314), and primary education (n = 259) filled in a battery of questionnaires including demographic information. To assess implicit anti-fat attitudes it was used the IAT. The IAT is a timed assessment that measures automatic associations of a target construct (fat versus thin people) with particular attributes (lazy and stupid). Participants had 20 sec to complete each of the IAT tasks: people generally find the tasks easier when the paired categories match their attitude, and they are able to correctly classify more words. The Crandall’s Questionnaire was used to assess explicit attitudes, the Social Dominance Orientation scale (SDO) to assess social dominance orientation. Results Data with a IAT error rate higher than 35% were excluded from analysis. The whole group reported significant levels of implicit anti-fat bias both for lazy (t(650) = 21.77, p < .01) and stupid (t(824) = 11.00, p < .01) attributes. Positive significant associations were found for implicit anti-fat bias and the subscale “dislike fat” of explicit prejudice (p < .001). Differences for gender were significant both for implicit (p < .05) and explicit anti-fat bias (p < .001), men reported higher values with the exception of “fear of fat” Crandall’s subscale. One-way ANOVA showed that undergraduate students in medicine reported significantly higher implicit anti-fat attitudes in comparison with other university students (F(2,648) = 6.35, p < .01 for “fat-lazy” prejudice and F(2,822) = 5.625, p < .01 for “fat-stupid”). Explicit anti-fat bias was higher among exercise sciences students for all subscales (F(2,894) = 28.525, p < .01 for “dislike fat”; F(2,894) = 3.166, p < .05 for “fear of fat”; F(2,894) = 38.592, p < .01 for “willpower” subscale). Moreover, high level of explicit bias were associated with higher SDO (p < .001). Discussion Medicine students displayed stronger implicit anti-fat bias, while exercise sciences students reported higher explicit bias and SDO. These results could have important implications for health promotion as may contribute to reduce quality of life for many overweight and obese people. Intervention strategies are needed to reduce these negative and potentially dangerous attitudes.

Implicit and explicit anti-fat bias among university students

GOBBI, ERICA;FERRI, ILARIA;CARRARO, ATTILIO
2012

Abstract

Background Anti-fat prejudice is widespread and pervades numerous areas of society including education, employment practice and medical health care and is a concern with considerable psychosocial costs. By using the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 1998) it has been found that health professionals and physical educators display significant implicit anti-fat attitudes. The purposes of this research was to examine the implicit and explicit attitudes toward obesity among a sample of university students, and to investigate the relationships with the psychosocial construct of the social dominance orientation. Materials and method Data were collected over two year period, undergraduate students of exercise sciences (n = 324), medicine (n = 314), and primary education (n = 259) filled in a battery of questionnaires including demographic information. To assess implicit anti-fat attitudes it was used the IAT. The IAT is a timed assessment that measures automatic associations of a target construct (fat versus thin people) with particular attributes (lazy and stupid). Participants had 20 sec to complete each of the IAT tasks: people generally find the tasks easier when the paired categories match their attitude, and they are able to correctly classify more words. The Crandall’s Questionnaire was used to assess explicit attitudes, the Social Dominance Orientation scale (SDO) to assess social dominance orientation. Results Data with a IAT error rate higher than 35% were excluded from analysis. The whole group reported significant levels of implicit anti-fat bias both for lazy (t(650) = 21.77, p < .01) and stupid (t(824) = 11.00, p < .01) attributes. Positive significant associations were found for implicit anti-fat bias and the subscale “dislike fat” of explicit prejudice (p < .001). Differences for gender were significant both for implicit (p < .05) and explicit anti-fat bias (p < .001), men reported higher values with the exception of “fear of fat” Crandall’s subscale. One-way ANOVA showed that undergraduate students in medicine reported significantly higher implicit anti-fat attitudes in comparison with other university students (F(2,648) = 6.35, p < .01 for “fat-lazy” prejudice and F(2,822) = 5.625, p < .01 for “fat-stupid”). Explicit anti-fat bias was higher among exercise sciences students for all subscales (F(2,894) = 28.525, p < .01 for “dislike fat”; F(2,894) = 3.166, p < .05 for “fear of fat”; F(2,894) = 38.592, p < .01 for “willpower” subscale). Moreover, high level of explicit bias were associated with higher SDO (p < .001). Discussion Medicine students displayed stronger implicit anti-fat bias, while exercise sciences students reported higher explicit bias and SDO. These results could have important implications for health promotion as may contribute to reduce quality of life for many overweight and obese people. Intervention strategies are needed to reduce these negative and potentially dangerous attitudes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2531687
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