Not all jobs are suitable for fat people: Experimental evidence of a link between being fat and "out-of-sight" jobs

Beatrice Venturini1, Luigi Castelli1, Silvia Tomelleri2
1Department of Social Psychology, Padova University, Italy
2Department of Social Psychology, Padova Univeristy, Italy
Cite this article:  Venturini, B., Castelli, L., & Tomelleri, S. (2006). Not all jobs are suitable for fat people: Experimental evidence of a link between being fat and "out-of-sight" jobs. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 34(4), 389-398.

Volume 34 Issue 4 | e1483 | Published: May 2006 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2006.34.4.389

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Previous researchers have shown the presence of antifat bias and discrimination towards fat persons in occupational settings. The main goal in this study was to investigate whether people spontaneously associate being fat with specific types of jobs. In particular, the existence of a strong mental association between obesity and job positions that do not require interpersonal contact was hypothesized. Participants were administered the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998), used to assess the strength of the association among concepts. As expected, results demonstrated that the category “fat person” was indeed more easily paired with low-contact jobs than with jobs requiring extensive interpersonal contact. In addition, media exposure and personal body weight were found to moderate the effect. In short, our results showed that fat persons are selectively associated with different job positions, and indications about potential moderating factors are provided.

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