Document Type


Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Mora Reinka


The goal of the current study is to investigate students’ perceptions of controllability and biases against individuals who smoke and individuals who present as ‘overweight’ in the workplace. Participants (N = 69) were randomly assigned to read an article describing either weight-based (n = 35) or smoking-based discrimination in the workplace (n = 34). Participants were tasked with writing open-ended responses to the articles. Participants in the smoking group were more likely to endorse (n = 16; 47.1%) discriminatory workplace practices than those in the weight group (n = 4; 11.4%), who showed more conflicted justification responses (weight n = 19; 54.3%; smoking n = 10; 29.5%). Moreover, the suggested practices in the article were more often labeled as discriminatory when describing weight (n = 21; 60.0%), compared to smoking (n = 9; 26.5%). Although both weight and smoking were seen as equally un/controllable, respondents in the smoking condition focused on topics of addiction and quitting, whereas weight respondents focused primarily on genetic or societal influences. Results indicate that implicit and explicit biases may be in conflict when presented with weight stigmatization, whereas there is a more general acceptance of the stigmatization of smokers.


Presented as part of the Ursinus College Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) held April 21, 2022.

The downloadable file is a research poster.

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