Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Psychology; Sociology

Project Advisor 1

Kristin Lane

Project Advisor 2

Allison McKim

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Many studies have shown that weight and socioeconomic status are related, such that people of low socioeconomic status are much more likely to be obese than people of high socioeconomic status (Drewnowski, 2009; Ljungvall & Zimmerman, 2012; Pudrovska, Reither, Logan, & Sherman-Wilkins, 2014; J Sobal & Stunkard, 1989; Jeffery Sobal, 1991). Additionally, people are biased against both the poor (John-Henderson, Jacobs, Mendoza-Denton, & Francis, 2013; Williams, 2009) and the obese (Puhl, Andreyeva, & Brownell, 2008). Through two empirical studies, I investigated the relationship between people’s attitudes about weight and people’s attitudes about socioeconomic status. In study 1, which was conducted with an online sample, participants were asked to estimate the socioeconomic status of people of different weights, races, and genders. Results showed that participants rated fat targets as significantly less educated and significantly less wealthy than thin targets. Study 2, conducted with an undergraduate sample at Bard College, examined whether general beliefs about controllability affected attitudes about weight and socioeconomic status. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions (controllable, uncontrollable, or neutral), in which they read a passage that primed them into thinking about controllability. Participants then completed a series of implicit and explicit measures about their attitudes and beliefs about weight and socioeconomic status. There was a nonsignificant trend that, in the controllable condition, implicit attitudes about weight and socioeconomic status were more highly correlated than in the uncontrollable and neutral conditions.

Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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