Disgust sensitivity, obesity stigma, and gender: Contamination psychology predicts weight bias for women, not men

Debra Lieberman, Josh M. Tybur, Janet D. Latner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent research has established a link between disgust sensitivity and stigmatizing reactions to various groups, including obese individuals. However, previous research has overlooked disgust's multiple evolved functions. Here, we investigated whether the link between disgust sensitivity and obesity stigma is specific to pathogen disgust, or whether sexual disgust and moral disgusttwo separate functional domainsalso relate to negative attitudes toward obese individuals. Additionally, we investigated whether sex differences exist in the manner disgust sensitivity predicts obesity stigma, whether the sexes differ across the subtypes of obesity bias independent of disgust sensitivity, and last, the association between participants' BMI and different subtypes of obesity stigma. In study 1 (N = 92), we established that obesity elicits pathogen, sexual, and moral disgust. In study 2, we investigated the relationship between these types of disgust sensitivity and obesity stigma. Participants (N = 387) reported their level of disgust toward various pathogen, sexual, and moral acts and their attitudes toward obese individuals. For women, but not men, increased pathogen disgust sensitivity predicted more negative attitudes toward obese individuals. Men reported more negative general attitudes toward obese individuals whereas women reported greater fear of becoming obese. The sexes also differed in how their own BMI related to the subtypes of obesity stigma. These findings indicate that pathogen disgust sensitivity plays a role in obesity stigma, specifically for women. Defining the scope of disgust's activation in response to obesity and its relationship with other variables can help identify possible mechanisms for understanding and ultimately alleviating prejudice and discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1803-1814
Number of pages12
JournalObesity
Volume20
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

Fingerprint

Obesity
Psychology
Weights and Measures
Research
Sex Characteristics
Fear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Disgust sensitivity, obesity stigma, and gender : Contamination psychology predicts weight bias for women, not men. / Lieberman, Debra; Tybur, Josh M.; Latner, Janet D.

In: Obesity, Vol. 20, No. 9, 01.09.2012, p. 1803-1814.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{6bf12033559e4ee584a945b1ccff6854,
title = "Disgust sensitivity, obesity stigma, and gender: Contamination psychology predicts weight bias for women, not men",
abstract = "Recent research has established a link between disgust sensitivity and stigmatizing reactions to various groups, including obese individuals. However, previous research has overlooked disgust's multiple evolved functions. Here, we investigated whether the link between disgust sensitivity and obesity stigma is specific to pathogen disgust, or whether sexual disgust and moral disgusttwo separate functional domainsalso relate to negative attitudes toward obese individuals. Additionally, we investigated whether sex differences exist in the manner disgust sensitivity predicts obesity stigma, whether the sexes differ across the subtypes of obesity bias independent of disgust sensitivity, and last, the association between participants' BMI and different subtypes of obesity stigma. In study 1 (N = 92), we established that obesity elicits pathogen, sexual, and moral disgust. In study 2, we investigated the relationship between these types of disgust sensitivity and obesity stigma. Participants (N = 387) reported their level of disgust toward various pathogen, sexual, and moral acts and their attitudes toward obese individuals. For women, but not men, increased pathogen disgust sensitivity predicted more negative attitudes toward obese individuals. Men reported more negative general attitudes toward obese individuals whereas women reported greater fear of becoming obese. The sexes also differed in how their own BMI related to the subtypes of obesity stigma. These findings indicate that pathogen disgust sensitivity plays a role in obesity stigma, specifically for women. Defining the scope of disgust's activation in response to obesity and its relationship with other variables can help identify possible mechanisms for understanding and ultimately alleviating prejudice and discrimination.",
author = "Debra Lieberman and Tybur, {Josh M.} and Latner, {Janet D.}",
year = "2012",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1038/oby.2011.247",
language = "English",
volume = "20",
pages = "1803--1814",
journal = "Obesity",
issn = "1930-7381",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "9",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Disgust sensitivity, obesity stigma, and gender

T2 - Contamination psychology predicts weight bias for women, not men

AU - Lieberman, Debra

AU - Tybur, Josh M.

AU - Latner, Janet D.

PY - 2012/9/1

Y1 - 2012/9/1

N2 - Recent research has established a link between disgust sensitivity and stigmatizing reactions to various groups, including obese individuals. However, previous research has overlooked disgust's multiple evolved functions. Here, we investigated whether the link between disgust sensitivity and obesity stigma is specific to pathogen disgust, or whether sexual disgust and moral disgusttwo separate functional domainsalso relate to negative attitudes toward obese individuals. Additionally, we investigated whether sex differences exist in the manner disgust sensitivity predicts obesity stigma, whether the sexes differ across the subtypes of obesity bias independent of disgust sensitivity, and last, the association between participants' BMI and different subtypes of obesity stigma. In study 1 (N = 92), we established that obesity elicits pathogen, sexual, and moral disgust. In study 2, we investigated the relationship between these types of disgust sensitivity and obesity stigma. Participants (N = 387) reported their level of disgust toward various pathogen, sexual, and moral acts and their attitudes toward obese individuals. For women, but not men, increased pathogen disgust sensitivity predicted more negative attitudes toward obese individuals. Men reported more negative general attitudes toward obese individuals whereas women reported greater fear of becoming obese. The sexes also differed in how their own BMI related to the subtypes of obesity stigma. These findings indicate that pathogen disgust sensitivity plays a role in obesity stigma, specifically for women. Defining the scope of disgust's activation in response to obesity and its relationship with other variables can help identify possible mechanisms for understanding and ultimately alleviating prejudice and discrimination.

AB - Recent research has established a link between disgust sensitivity and stigmatizing reactions to various groups, including obese individuals. However, previous research has overlooked disgust's multiple evolved functions. Here, we investigated whether the link between disgust sensitivity and obesity stigma is specific to pathogen disgust, or whether sexual disgust and moral disgusttwo separate functional domainsalso relate to negative attitudes toward obese individuals. Additionally, we investigated whether sex differences exist in the manner disgust sensitivity predicts obesity stigma, whether the sexes differ across the subtypes of obesity bias independent of disgust sensitivity, and last, the association between participants' BMI and different subtypes of obesity stigma. In study 1 (N = 92), we established that obesity elicits pathogen, sexual, and moral disgust. In study 2, we investigated the relationship between these types of disgust sensitivity and obesity stigma. Participants (N = 387) reported their level of disgust toward various pathogen, sexual, and moral acts and their attitudes toward obese individuals. For women, but not men, increased pathogen disgust sensitivity predicted more negative attitudes toward obese individuals. Men reported more negative general attitudes toward obese individuals whereas women reported greater fear of becoming obese. The sexes also differed in how their own BMI related to the subtypes of obesity stigma. These findings indicate that pathogen disgust sensitivity plays a role in obesity stigma, specifically for women. Defining the scope of disgust's activation in response to obesity and its relationship with other variables can help identify possible mechanisms for understanding and ultimately alleviating prejudice and discrimination.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84865645621&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84865645621&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/oby.2011.247

DO - 10.1038/oby.2011.247

M3 - Article

C2 - 21836644

AN - SCOPUS:84865645621

VL - 20

SP - 1803

EP - 1814

JO - Obesity

JF - Obesity

SN - 1930-7381

IS - 9

ER -