Perceived responsibility and sympathy for misfortunes of the obese

Rowley, Sarah (2015). Perceived responsibility and sympathy for misfortunes of the obese Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Rowley, Sarah
Thesis Title Perceived responsibility and sympathy for misfortunes of the obese
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-10-07
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Eric Vanman
Total pages 92
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
Two studies were conducted to examine the relationship between perceived responsibility and sympathy for a target’s misfortune, and how the measures were affected by multiple factors such as the target’s gender or weight. A perspective-taking task was used in the second study, aiming to reduce the weight bias. No previous studies had explicitly examined the perceived responsibility- sympathy for the obesity stigma, nor had any looked at the effect of target gender on ratings of responsibility and sympathy. Online surveys containing profiles with manipulated target variables were used. The focal outcome measures were questions on responsibility, and sympathy. Ratings of misfortune negativity, participant traits and demographics were also collected. The first study had an N =100 of American participants recruited through MTurk. The second study had an N = 100 of first year psychology students. A moderate inverse relationship between perceived responsibility and sympathy was found. Participant variables, such as participant weight and gender were found to have no effect on the focal outcome measures. The perspective-taking task was found to be ineffective. Targets with health misfortunes, obese targets, particularly men, received greater ratings of sympathy and lower. Recent weight change by the target, whether weight gain or loss, negatively impacted ratings of responsibility and negativity. Further research needs to be done to determine whether this effect is only for obese targets.
Keyword Responsibility

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Created: Tue, 29 Mar 2016, 13:31:32 EST by Lisa Perry on behalf of School of Psychology