Parents and children hold negative attitudes about obesity, but little is known about individual differences in obesity stigma. The current study examined authoritarian parenting style, beliefs about the controllability of weight and fear of fat in relation to mothers' dislike of overweight individuals. Factors related to children's weight stereotypes were also investigated. Forty-nine mothers and children (43% girls) participated. Mothers showed more dislike and blame toward adults who are overweight than children who are overweight; parents were most often blamed for children's weight status. Authoritarian parenting and beliefs about controllability were related to mothers' anti-fat attitudes, but fear of fat was not. However, mothers' fear of fat was the best predictor of children's negative stereotypes toward overweight peers. The current study provides some preliminary insight into the role of mothers in children's attitudes about weight. Examining individual difference factors is also useful in planning targeted interventions to lessen obesity stigma.
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2011
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