Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Obesity affects job prospects for women, study finds

Date:
April 30, 2012
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Obese women are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for jobs and receive lower starting salaries than their non-overweight colleagues, a new study has found.

Obese women are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for jobs and receive lower starting salaries than their non-overweight colleagues, a new study has found.

The study, led by The University of Manchester and Monash University, Melbourne, and published in the International Journal of Obesity, examined whether a recently developed measure of anti-fat prejudice, the universal measure of bias (UMB), predicted actual obesity job discrimination. The researchers also assessed whether people's insecurity with their own bodies (body image) and conservative personalities such as, authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation were related to obesity discrimination, as they are related to homophobia and racism.

Psychologist and lead researcher Dr Kerry O'Brien said the nature of the study was initially concealed from the participants to avoid biased results, and simply advertised as a study on whether some people are better at personnel selection than others.

"Participants viewed a series of resumes that had a small photo of the job applicant attached, and were asked to make ratings of the applicants suitability, starting salary, and employability," said Dr O'Brien. "We used pictures of women pre- and post-bariatric surgery, and varied whether participants saw either a resume, amongst many, that had a picture of an obese female (BMI 38-41) attached, or the same female but in a normal weight range (BMI 22-24) following bariatric surgery.

"We found that strong obesity discrimination was displayed across all job selection criteria, such as starting salary, leadership potential, and likelihood of selecting an obese candidate for the job."

The higher a participant's score on the measure of anti-fat prejudice, the more likely they were to discriminate against obese candidates, while those with a more authoritarian personality also displayed discrimination.

Dr O'Brien and co-authors Dr Janet Latner, from the University of Hawaii, and Dr Jackie Hunter, from Otago University, noted that one of the particularly interesting and new findings was that the participants' ratings of their own physical appearance (body image) and importance of physical appearance were also associated with obesity discrimination.

"The higher participants rated their own physical attractiveness and the importance of physical appearance, the greater the prejudice and discrimination," said Dr O'Brien. "One interpretation of this finding might be that we feel better about our own bodies if we compare ourselves and discriminate against 'fat' people, but we need to test this experimentally."

The study is the first to show a relationship between explicit self-report measures of obesity prejudice and obesity job discrimination. In addition, the results suggest that a belief in the superiority of some individuals over others is related to the perception that obese individuals deserve fewer privileges and opportunities than non-fat individuals.

Dr O'Brien added: "Our findings show that there is a clear need to address obesity discrimination, particularly against females who tend to bear the brunt of anti-fat prejudice. Prejudice reduction interventions and policies need to be developed. It's also becoming clear that the reasons for this prejudice appear to be related to our personalities, how we feel about ourselves, with attributions, such as, obese people are lazy, gluttonous etc merely acting as justifications for our prejudice."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. K S O'Brien, J D Latner, D Ebneter, J A Hunter. Obesity discrimination: the role of physical appearance, personal ideology, and anti-fat prejudice. International Journal of Obesity, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2012.52

Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Obesity affects job prospects for women, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430101034.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2012, April 30). Obesity affects job prospects for women, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430101034.htm
University of Manchester. "Obesity affects job prospects for women, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430101034.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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