Impact of a Video on Weight Bias in Medical Students

Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Nearly two-thirds of the US population is considered overweight or obese. Primary care physicians play a key role in addressing this crisis. However, their negative attitudes and beliefs about patients with obesity impact critical treatment outcomes. Weight stigma is prevalent and reinforced throughout medical school and residency training, and in this intensive learning environment, social and psychological considerations can be easily ignored. This study examined outcomes from the Causal Attributions Scale and Beliefs about Obese Persons Scale for third- and fourth-year medical students 85 who viewed a brief control video medical condition without stigma (control group) vs. a video about obesity stigma (educational intervention group) in a medical practice. No significant differences were found between groups on The Causal Attributions Scale (p > 0.05). However, significant differences between intervention and control group were found on The Beliefs about Obese Persons Scale (p < 0.05); specifically, the intervention group more commonly reported endorsed that obesity was not in the control of the individual. Year- in-program, and Body Mass Index (BMI) were associated with outcomes. Computer-based learning variables were found instrumental for future instructional design research that targets stigma in healthcare.

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