The Effect of Race on Perceptions of Fat Talk among College Women

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Crystal Jennette Thornhill (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Lisa Curtin

Abstract: Fat talk is a normative style of communication where primarily girls and women say negative things about their bodies as a part of social conversation. The majority of fat talk research has employed Caucasian participants and racially unspecified targets in vignette-based studies, and there is a notable absence of how fat talk may differ as a function of race. In this study, Caucasian participants were randomly assigned to read one of three vignettes describing a fat talk situation among female college students. The race of a primary target was manipulated and identified as Caucasian, African American, or not specified using a between-subjects design. Participants were asked to rate their perceptions of fat talk as a normative response for the female target and the protagonist’s likeability. The results supported the hypothesis that fat talk is perceived as more normative among a Caucasian than an African Americans target in a vignette. No differences were found between conditions on perceptions of likeability. The results suggest that previous vignette-based fat talk studies likely apply to perceptions of Caucasian female targets as when race was not specified, Caucasian college participants assumed the target was Caucasian.

Additional Information

Thornhill, C.J. (2014). The Effect of Race on Perceptions of Fat Talk among College Women. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2014
fat talk , body image , women , race

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