Background/Purpose esearch suggests that antifat attitudes are prevalent in sport, and this prejudice affects the attitudes toward and opportunities for persons perceived to be overweight (Sartore & Cunningham, 2007). The purpose of this study was to examine these issues in greater depth by investigating potential biases and negative evaluations of athletes who are perceived to be overweight. Specifically, we examined if weight moderated the relationship between skill level and an athlete being offered a college scholarship.
Method Data were collected from 147 Division I women's golf coaches. We employed an experimental design, whereby participants reviewed a player profile of a high school golfer. Conditions varied by skill level (high or average) and weight (average or overweight). After reviewing the profile, participants provided their own demographic information, rated the player on various characteristics (Ohanian, 1990), and indicated whether they would offer a scholarship.
Analysis/Results Manipulation checks confirmed the efficacy of the experimental design. Analysis of covariance (controlling for coach demographics) showed main effects for skill, F (1, 142) = 229.13, p < .001, weight, F (1, 142) = 73.06, p < .001, and the skill x weight interaction, F (1, 142) = 15.37, p < .001. The interaction plot indicates that the relationship between skill level and being offered a scholarship was stronger for golfers perceived to be overweight.
Conclusions Results suggest that anti-fat attitudes continue to negatively affect persons perceived to be overweight. Even with equal qualifications, overweight golfers were less likely to be offered a scholarship than were average weight golfers. Prejudice reduction techniques are needed.
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