Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

J. Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.

Keywords

Stigmatization, Weight prejudice, Anti-fat bias, Media, Television

Abstract

In order to examine the phenomenon of fat messages presented through visual media, a content analysis was used to quantify and categorize fat-specific commentary. Fat commentary vignettes were identified using a targeted sampling procedure, and 135 scenes were excised from movies and TV shows. The material was coded by trained raters. Reliability indices were uniformly high for the seven categories (% agreement ranged from .90-.98; kappas ranged from .66-.94). Results indicated that fat commentary and fat humor is often verbal, directed toward another person, and is often presented directly in the presence of the overweight target. Results also indicated that male characters are three times more likely to engage in fat commentary or fat humor than female characters. These findings provide the first information regarding the specific gender, age, and types of fat commentary that occur frequently in movies and TV shows. The stimuli should prove useful in future research examining the role of individual difference factors (e.g., BMI) in the reaction to viewing such vignettes.

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