International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 15 Num. 1 - March 2015


Assessment of implicit anti-fat and pro-slim attitudes in young women using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP)

Volume 15 Num. 1 - March 2015 - Pages 17-32


Paloma Maroto Expósito , Mónica Hernández López , Miguel Rodríguez Valverde


Research on implicit attitudes to both male and female body size has produced evidence for the existence of an attitudinal bias in the form of preference for images of thinness over images of fatness. Specifically, studies that have employed the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) have shown that this bias is specifically attributable to a pro-slim attitude, rather than to an anti-fat one. It is not clear, however, if the same type of specific pro-slim bias will be found when attitudes are measured exclusively for female participants and only to female targets. The present study has employed the IRAP for the assessment of implicit attitudes towards fatness and slimness in a sample of 40 Spanish young female college students. The task required participants to respond relationally in alternating trial-blocks. In pro-slim/anti-fat blocks, they had to respond as if photos of underweight women were pleasant and photos of overweight women were unpleasant. In anti-fat/pro-slim blocks they had to respond according to the opposite pattern (overweight as pleasant and underweight as unpleasant). Additionally, participants had to produce explicit ratings of pleasantness for the same photos used in the IRAP (with a visual analogue scale: VAS), and answer measures of body dissatisfaction (the Body Shape Questionnaire: BSQ) and of eating disorders symptomatology (the Eating Attitudes Test: EAT-40). Results showed no evidence of implicit bias for body size (neither pro-slim nor anti-fat). Besides, no significant correlations were found between implicit and explicit measures. These results are consistent with prior evidence suggesting that women show less anti-fat prejudice than men, and with studies that find less anti-fat bias in Spanish population than in Anglo-Saxon population.

Key words:

Implicit attitudes; anti-fat/pro-slim bias; IRAP, R

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