Adolescent Obesity and Young Adult Psychosocial Outcomes: Gender and Racial Differences
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- Merten, M.J., Wickrama, K.A.S. & Williams, A.L. J Youth Adolescence (2008) 37: 1111. doi:10.1007/s10964-008-9281-z
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Using a sample of 7,881 African American (915 males and 1,073 females) and White (2,864 males and 3,029 females) adolescents from Waves 1 and 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study examined the psychosocial consequences that obese adolescents encounter as they reach young adulthood. Results indicate that obesity among adolescent females is associated with a lower status attainment in young adulthood than normal weight adolescent females. In addition, obese adolescent females have more depressive symptoms in young adulthood than normal weight females, even after controlling for prior depressive symptoms in adolescence. Obesity status among adolescent males is not associated with poorer psychosocial outcomes in young adulthood. We did not find evidence of an interaction between obesity status and race, indicating no significant differences in psychosocial outcomes for obese White compared to obese African American adolescents.