Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Calogero, Rachel M.


Women with eating disorders (EDs) from marginalized groups (e.g., higher weight women; Women of Colour) are under-treated compared to non-marginalized women. A reason for these disparities may be that women from marginalized groups do not fit the stereotype of a person with an ED (e.g., thin, White), and therefore ED symptoms are not recognized. The present study tested the impact of weight status and ethnic group on layperson detection of ED symptomology. Undergraduate students (N = 194) read a personal disclosure from a female target describing eating pathology. The target was described as “underweight”, “average weight” or “overweight” and as White or Black. Participants indicated their recognition of an ED, prescriptions for the target, and relevant social perceptions of the target. Results suggest that EDs were more likely to be detected in underweight targets than overweight targets, with minimal differences between ethnic groups. This research illuminates the entrenchment of weight stigma in lay perceptions of EDs, with implications for intervention.