Marriage and Family Therapy trainees' reports of explicit weight bias

Keeley J Pratt, Elizabeth N Palmer, Jaclyn Cravens, Yin Cai, Elizabeth K. Balk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discrimination based on an individual’s weight has been observed in healthcare, education, retail, and other public sectors (Puhl & Huer, 2009). Such inequity, known as “weight bias”, generates negative short and long-term consequences for the individuals that experience it (Puhl & Brownell, 2007). Past research has shown that healthcare trainees exhibit weight bias (Phelan et al., 2014; Wigton & McGaghie, 2001), yet little focus is given to weight bias in MFT education. The purpose of this study was to survey MFT students (N = 162) to explore weight bias and how contextual factors associate with weight bias. Participants in MFT programs reported explicit weight bias, with specific contextual factors associating with more bias. Female participants reported more fear of gaining weight, and individuals who identified as overweight had higher rates of explicit weight bias. Contextual differences and implications for training programs are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
StatePublished - Apr 2016


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