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Weight bias is present in children as young as 3 years old; however, research regarding gender differences is mixed. This study examined gender and age differences in weight bias attitudes in a sample of 3- to 5-year-old pre-schoolers. Children assigned positive or negative adjectives to thin, average, or large targets and selected one of these targets as their best friend. Girls showed a larger weight bias than boys in both tasks, and weight bias increased with age in the adjective attribution task. Findings clarify previously mixed gender results and demonstrate that while weight bias beliefs strengthen during the pre-school years, weight bias behavioural intentions do not. The results highlight the importance of continued efforts to address weight bias in young children. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Weight bias is linked to negative consequences in young children. Children as young as 3 years old demonstrate weight bias. Findings regarding gender differences in weight bias in pre-schoolers are mixed. What does this study add? Girls demonstrated higher weight bias than boys in an adjective attribution and best friend selection task. Weight bias increased with age in the adjective attribution task but not in the friend selection task. Weight bias beliefs strengthen during the pre-school years; however, weight bias behavioural intentions do not.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The British journal of developmental psychology
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The introduction of error due to systematic differences in the characteristics between those selected and those not selected for a given study. In sampling bias, error is the result of failure to ensure that all members of the reference population have a known chance of selection in the sample.
A marked difference between the individual’s expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her, and it must continue for at least six months. (from DSM-5)
The ability to attribute mental states (e.g., beliefs, desires, feelings, intentions, thoughts, etc.) to self and to others, allowing an individual to understand and infer behavior on the basis of the mental states. Difference or deficit in theory of mind is associated with ASPERGER SYNDROME; AUTISTIC DISORDER; and SCHIZOPHRENIA, etc.
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Field of social science that is concerned with differences between human groups as related to health status and beliefs.
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