Children's attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a peer presented as obese: does a medical explanation for the obesity make a difference?

J Pediatr Psychol. Apr-May 2000;25(3):137-45. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/25.3.137.

Abstract

Objective: To examine the effect of information on children's attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a peer presented as obese.

Methods: Children (N = 184) were randomly assigned to observe a video of a boy or girl in one of three conditions: average-weight, obese, obese with medical information explaining the obesity. They rated stereotypical attitudes on the Adjective Checklist and behavioral intentions on the Shared Activities Questionnaire (SAQ-B).

Results: Ratings were generally more favorable for the average-weight than for the obese condition. However, provision of medical information had a positive effect on attitudes toward the obese peer only for younger children and a negative effect on willingness of older children to share academic activities with the peer. Boys and girls showed more positive behavioral intentions toward the same-sex target child regardless of obesity condition.

Conclusions: Information explaining obesity has a minimal positive effect on children's attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a peer presented as obese.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Social Desirability*
  • Stereotyping*