Implicit and explicit anti-fat bias among Asian females

  • Weiting Jiang
  • Janice Tan
  • Daniel B. FassnachtEmail author
Original Article


Obesity is not only associated with an increased risk of numerous health problems, but also with high rates of stigmatization and weight-related bias. Anti-fat attitudes have been shown to be prevalent in Western samples; however, there is a lack of studies investigating both implicit and explicit anti-fat bias in Asian populations. There is also limited research investigating the relationship between anti-fat attitudes and weight-related behavioral intentions. Thus, this study aimed to examine anti-fat bias and its effect on behavioral intentions using three types of measures—implicit, explicit, and a revised behavioral intention measure—in a sample of 104 Asian females in Singapore. Significant differences were found between implicit and explicit bias: on average, participants exhibited strong implicit but no explicit anti-fat bias (p < 0.001). Furthermore, only implicit anti-fat bias was found to be a significant predictor of behavioral intentions (p < 0.05), after accounting for body mass index, and sociodemographic variables. In conclusion, the present study revealed that implicit anti-fat bias is present among Asian females and is a valid predictor of weight-related behavioral intentions. However, anti-fat bias is often not expressed explicitly, possibly influenced by collectivistic beliefs. More studies are needed to better understand similarities and differences between Asian and Western populations regarding attitudes toward overweight and obese individuals.


Obesity Anti-fat bias Implicit vs. explicit attitudes Asia Females 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest and nothing to disclose.

Ethical approval

Before commencement of the study, ethical approval was granted from the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), James Cook University. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weiting Jiang
    • 1
  • Janice Tan
    • 1
  • Daniel B. Fassnacht
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyJames Cook UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Research School of PsychologyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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