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• “For men, increases in weight have positive linear effects of pay but at diminished returns at above-average levels of weight.”
• Gaining weight is more damaging to women’s earnings than to men. “For women, increases in weight have negative linear effects on pay, but the negative effects are stronger at below-average than at above-average weight levels.”
• “Whereas women are punished for any weight gain, very thin women receive the most severe punishment for their first few pounds of weight gain. This finding is consistent with research showing that the media’s depiction of an unrealistically think female ideal leads people to see this ideal as normative, expected, and central to female attractiveness.”
• “Very thin” women earned approximately $22,000 more than their average weight counterparts.
• “Thin” women earned a little over $7,000 more than their average weight counterparts.
• “Heavy” and “Very Heavy” women lost over $9,000 and almost $19,000, respectively, than their average weight counterparts.
When it comes to pay, do the thin win? The effect of weight on pay for men and women.
Judge, Timothy A.; Cable, Daniel M.
Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 96(1), Jan 2011, 95-112. doi: 10.1037/a0020860 [fee]
Cultivation theory suggests that society holds very different body standards for men versus women, and research indicates that the consequences of defying these social norms may not be linear. To test these notions in the employment context, we examined the relationship between weight and income and the degree to which the relationship varies by gender. For women, we theorized a negative weight–income relationship that is steepest at the thin end of the distribution. For men, we predicted a positive weight–income relationship until obesity, where it becomes negative. To test these hypotheses, we utilized 2 longitudinal studies, 1 German and 1 American. In Study 1, weight was measured over 2 time periods, and earnings were averaged over the subsequent 5 years. Study 2 was a multilevel study in which weight and earnings were within-individual variables observed over time, and gender was a between-individual variable. Results from the 2 studies generally support the hypotheses, even when examining within-individual changes in weight over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)