What is more likely to predict prejudicial attitudes towards overweight individuals: Gender, locus of control, or social dominance orientation?
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As obesity has become an important healthcare issue, more research has revealed a pervasive bias against overweight individuals. Individuals are often perceived to be in control of their own weight, and therefore, if one is overweight they are considered lazy, lacking in self-control, and non-compliant (Rukavina & Li, 2011; Stapleton, 2013). Although obesity rates are rising across countries, there has been no reduction in the negative attitudes and prejudices expressed towards the overweight (Stapleton, 2013). This study was conducted to assess the effects that Health Locus of Control (HLOC), Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth & Malle, 1994), and gender had on obesity bias among 144 participants (62 male and 82 female adults). The results from the Hierarchical Multiple Regression (HMR) analyses in this study indicated significant contributions to the variance for SDO (6.8%) and HLOC (5.3%) on an Anti-Fat Attitudes measure. HLOC significantly contributed to the variance for the Attitudes Towards Obese People measure (2.6%) however, gender and SDO did not. None of the three variables of interest (SDO, HLOC and gender) were significant when Beliefs About Obese People scale was used to measure obesity bias. This study aimed to explore the gap in the literature relating specifically to potential predictors of weight bias and prejudice. The findings and limitations are discussed in light of clinical intervention to reduce weight bias and directions for future research.
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