Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Employer Bias Against Obese Persons Isn't Based On Looks, Study Finds

Date:
February 22, 1998
Source:
Ohio University
Summary:
Researchers have speculated that looks motivate employers's reluctance to hire obese persons for jobs in which they have high public visibility. But a study by Ohio University psychologists suggests it's the activity of the job and the obese person's perceived inability to perform it that deters employment, not physical appearance.

ATHENS, Ohio -- Researchers have long speculated that looks motivate employers's reluctance to hire obese persons for jobs in which they have high public visibility. But a new study by Ohio University psychologists suggests it's the activity of the job and the obese person's perceived inability to perform it that deters employment, not physical appearance.

Related Articles


"Employers are assuming obese people simply can't do the job," said Paula Popovich, an associate professor of psychology at Ohio University and lead author of the study. "It's not attractiveness as many have speculated. But until now, there have been no studies showing this. We found that it's more a perception that they are fat and therefore they can't do jobs that require a lot of physical activity. It's a perception they can't do the job without actually testing their abilities."

The study has important implications in light of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which included obesity as a disorder which may meet the act's criteria.

"Discrimination against obese people in the workplace is an important resource issue and we need to know how negative stereotypes affect hiring," Popovich said.

For the study, 54 undergraduate students rated 40 jobs on several items, including the likelihood they would hire an obese person for each job. A person was described as "obese" if they weighed 50 percent more than the ideal weight, as described by the Body Mass Index, a widely accepted ratio of weight and height.

The students were given 100-word job descriptions and asked whether they would hire an obese person for the job, whether an actual personnel manager would hire that person for the job and whether the obese person, either male and female, could actually perform the job well.

The results clearly indicate people are reluctant to hire obese persons for high-activity jobs, choosing instead to hire obese persons for sedentary jobs, Popovich said.

"Basically the myth of hiring obese people for nonpublic jobs is false," Popovich said. "The stigma against hiring obese people appears to be more related to activity."

In the study, obese persons were more likely to be hired for sedentary jobs such as computer programmer, film editor or cheese blender than those at the other end of the activity scale, such as health club manager, industrial manager and landscape gardener.

"Although there seems to be some sex-role stereotyping in these jobs, associating food service jobs with women and jobs involving heavy lifting with men, we believe physical activity is a much more important factor," Popovich said.

The study was published in a recent issue of the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills and was co-authored by five former Ohio University graduate students.

- 30 -

Contact: Paula Popovich, (740) 593-1072; ppopovich2@ohiou.edu.
Written by Dwight Woodward, (740) 593-1886; dwoodward1@ohiou.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio University. "Employer Bias Against Obese Persons Isn't Based On Looks, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980222141845.htm>.
Ohio University. (1998, February 22). Employer Bias Against Obese Persons Isn't Based On Looks, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980222141845.htm
Ohio University. "Employer Bias Against Obese Persons Isn't Based On Looks, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980222141845.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Science News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Observers near Wallops Island recorded what they thought would be a routine rocket launch Tuesday night. What they recorded was a major rocket explosion shortly after lift off. (Oct 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Just hours after an American cargo run to the International Space Station ended in flames, a Russian supply ship has arrived at the station with a load of fresh supplies. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins