Implicit Weight Bias and Heart Attack Mortality: A Regression Analysis

7 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2018

See all articles by Philine Endres

Philine Endres

University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: August 10, 2018


Objectives - This study explores the relationship between implicit bias against overweight people and heart attack mortality.

Methods - An ordinary least-squares regression of implicit weight bias and heart attack mortality, including explicit weight bias as a covariate. Implicit weight bias is operationalized as US county Implicit Association Test scores, collected by Project Implicit. Heart attack mortality rates for each US county are drawn from the Center of Disease Control.

Results - Both implicit and explicit weight bias are found to be associated with lower rates of heart attack mortality.

Conclusion - This counter-intuitive relationship might be explained by the intergroup contact theory, holding that prolonged exposed to a stigmatized group reduces the majority group’s bias toward that group. Caution should be used when trying to use these findings to support Callahan’s theory that bias and social pressure would nudge obese people towards healthier habits and better health.

Keywords: stigma, psychology, weight-related discrimination, heart disease, prejudice, bias

Suggested Citation

Endres, Philine, Implicit Weight Bias and Heart Attack Mortality: A Regression Analysis (August 10, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Philine Endres (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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