Explicit and implicit measures of weight-related attitudes in young children: associations with perspective taking and executive function

Date

2015-08-13

Authors

Hutchison, Sarah Michelle

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Abstract

Weight-based stigmatization refers to negative beliefs and weight-related attitudes that are demonstrated through rejection, bias, stereotypes, and prejudice towards individuals because they are overweight or obese. With weight stigma prevalent and on the rise, assessment of factors associated with weight stigma is important in developing effective interventions for children. The goal of this study was to investigate weight stigma in relation to perspective taking skills and executive function (EF). Sixty-two 4- to 7-year-olds were administered measures of weight stigma (explicit and a Weight Implicit Association Test; Weight IAT), perspective taking skills, and EF. As expected, most children demonstrated the stereotype that fat was bad on explicit and implicit measures. Results showed that explicit weight stigma increases with age, and perspective taking skills and EF were not associated with weight stigma. The findings suggest that weight stigma increases with age and that early intervention is needed to reduce weight stigma.

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Keywords

Psychology, children, obesity, stigma, attitude, overweight

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