A developmental analysis of the influence of body weight on the sociometry of children


The influence of relative weight on sociometric nominations (liking and disliking) and sociometric ratings by first, third, and fifth graders was assessed. In terms of nominations, first grade overweight males, relative to other males and to overweight females, received fewer liking nominations. On the sociometric ratings, third grade overweight males were rated lower by other males. Ratings by females at each grade level, and by fifth grade males, were influenced by gender considerations and not by weight considerations. That is, boys rated boys higher than they rated girls, and girls rated girls higher than they rated boys, regardless of the child's weight status. Additional analyses demonstrated that these findings were not qualified by the weight of the chils making the ratings, Thus, developmental evidence was found for less liking (but not disliking) of overweight peers among first and third grade males, while weight did not appear to influence the decisions of fifth graders. These results call into question the validity of a social stigma often assumed to be associated with overweight children. © 1989.

Publication Title

Addictive Behaviors