ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Advisor

Lauri A Jensen-Campbell

Second Advisor

Jared B Kenworthy


While physical education (PE) classes and sports teams create an opportunity to increase overweight and obese students’ interest in physical activity (Price, 1990), these are settings in which such students encounter stigma from PE teachers and coaches (Bauer et al., 2004). Weight bias predicts negative psychological (Eisenberg et al., 2003) and physical (Hunger & Yomiyama, 2014) outcomes in children and adolescents, which could be offset by positive behaviors related to growth mindset in teachers. The current study examined weight bias in elementary PE teachers as well as the influence of teacher sport-related mindset on weight bias. PE teachers (N = 286) completed a survey assessing personality, demographics, and sport-related mindset. They viewed one of eight profiles of a 10-year-old student before rating the student’s motivation, success, and personality. The profiles differed by gender, body mass index (BMI: normal vs. obese), and health habits and fitness test scores (healthy vs. unhealthy). PE teachers rated average weight students more favorably than obese students in terms of motivation and laziness. Teachers also rated healthy students as more motivated/successful, more trustworthy/intelligent, and less lazy than unhealthy students. Participants’ own BMI, tenure, and personality characteristics influenced their perceptions of students, particularly those who were obese. Teachers’ sport-related mindset did not play a role in their weight bias. Results highlight the need for future research on weight bias in PE teachers and interventions to reduce such bias.


Weight bias, Growth mindset, Physical education, Children, Adolescent


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons