In-service prompting healthcare workers' awareness of fat/size bias: A pilot study

Christine C. Frick (2007)

Discrimination against the obese within medical settings prompts patient reticence to make or keep appointments, as well as provokes poorer quality of care when the obese client presents for an appointment or participates in a medical procedure. Data collected from the facilitation of this pilot study provides evidence that there is potential to lower antifat bias in healthcare workers after they attend a one-hour intervention designed for this effect. Results generated indicate, on average, participants decreased their scores on the construct that reflects participants' tendency to ascribe socially undesirable personality characteristics to and social disregard for persons who are fat by 14% from pre-intervention to post-intervention; a decrease of 12% was sustained through to a four-week follow-up. On average participants decreased their scores on the construct that reflects participants' perceptions that people who are fat are unattractive and unacceptable as romantic partners by 13% from pre-intervention to post-intervention; a decrease of 12% was sustained through to a four-week follow-up. On average participants decreased their scores on the construct that reflects participants' beliefs concerning whether the weight of persons who are fat is under their own behavioral control versus biogenetic control by 25% from pre-intervention to post-intervention and a decrease of 24% was sustained through to a four-week follow-up. The development of this workshop relied on the Health at Every Size paradigm and the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change to guide its design; purposefully targeting the culturally accepted fat prejudice that pervades the healthcare environment and working toward decreased fat/size bias.