Preschool children's perceptions of other children based on body size
thesisposted on 2021-05-22, 17:25 authored by Wei Su
Overweight individuals are highly stigmatized in society. The purpose of the study is to determine if preschool children perceive overweight children to have more negative characteristics than non-overweight children. Interviews were conducted with 42 preschool children from 32 to 70 months old. Children listened to four stories about an interaction between two children, in which one child demonstrated socially unacceptable behaviour and one who demonstrated prosocial behaviour. Stories were presented along with two target figures (one target = overweight, one target = non-overweight). Results showed that children perceived the overweight target figures of the opposite gender. Male children also labeled overweight target figures as 'mean' more often than female children. No age differences were present. The findings of the study may be significant for the development of programs that will prevent or decrease negative body image attitudes and body stigmatization in order to create inclusive learning and social environments where all children are accepted, included and gain a sense of belonging regardless of their body shape or size.