Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Daniels.


Bias toward individuals who are obese is one of the last bastions of permissible prejudice. The people who are obese report discrimination in a variety of settings; they experience it with families, employers, teachers, and health-care professionals. Research regarding obesity bias indicates that attribution of personal responsibility is correlated with negative attitudes toward individuals who are obese. Attribution of causality and resulting bias has been linked to specific personality characteristics, specifically the Big Five traits Agreeableness and Openness to Experience. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between personality characteristics and obesity bias. Students at a large mid-Atlantic University completed three measures; one personality measure, the NEO---PI---R and two measures of obesity bias, the Anti-fat Attitudes Questionnaire and a Weight Implicit Association Test. It was predicted that low Agreeableness and Openness to Experience was would predict anti-fat bias. Regression analyses did not indicate relationships between these variables, as expected. However, the obesity bias measures demonstrated bias was present within this sample. These findings are inconsistent with previous research regarding prejudice which used the NEO---PI---R. Limitations of this study, recommendations for future research, and clinical implications are discussed, including reducing myths regarding obesity, and advocacy for individuals who are obese.