Advertisement

Coping responses as mediators in the relationship between perceived weight stigma and depression

  • A. M. KoballEmail author
  • R. A. Carels
Original Research Paper

Abstract

The prejudice and discrimination that overweight and obese individuals experience as a result of their weight (i.e. weight stigma) often leads to psychological consequences, such as depression. The present study examined whether coping with stigmatizing experiences mediated the relationship between perceived weight stigma and depression among overweight/obese treatment seeking adults. Fifty-four overweight and obese (mean BMI=37.2) weight loss treatment seeking participants (87.3% Caucasian, 79.6% female) participated in the study. Results from this study indicate that greater stigmatizing experiences were significantly related to depression. Both adaptive and maladaptive coping significantly mediated the relationship between weight stigma and depression. Surprisingly however, greater adaptive coping was positively related to depression. Coping responses appear to mediate the association between experiencing bias and discrimination because of one’s weight and adverse psychological outcomes. Results suggest that obese individuals are at considerable risk for psychological complications secondary to weight-based mistreatment by others and their responses to cope with the mistreatment.

Key words

Weight stigma bias obesity depression coping 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Latner JD, Stunkard AJ. The stigmatization of obese children: 40 years and counting. Obes Res 2001; 11: 452–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Andreyeva T, Puhl RM, Brownell KD. Changes in perceived weight discrimination among Americans, 1995–1996 through 2004–2006. Obesity 2008; 16: 1129–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Puhl RM, Heuer C. The stigma of obesity: A review and update. Obesity 2009; 17: 941–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Carr D, Friedman MA, Jaffe K. Understanding the relationship between obesity and positive and negative affect: the role of psychosocial mechanisms. Body Image 2007; 4: 165–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Myers A, Rosen JC. Obesity stigmatization and coping: Relation to mental health symptoms, body image, and self-esteem. Int J Obes 1999; 23: 221–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Friedman KE, Reichmann SK, Costanzo PR, et al. Weight stigmatization and ideological beliefs: Relation to psychological functioning in obese adults. Obes Res 2005; 13: 907–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Puhl RM, Brownell KD. Confronting and coping with weight stigma: an investigation of overweight and obese adults. Obesity 2006; 14: 1802–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Skinner E, Edge K, Altman J, et al. Searching for the structure of coping: A review and critique of category systems for classifying ways of coping. Psychol Bull 2003; 129: 216–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance. NAAFA policy on adoption discrimination. http://www.naafa.org/documents/policies/adoption.html, 1991.
  10. 10.
    Tobin DL, Holroyd KA, Reynolds RV, et al. The hierarchical factor structure of the Coping Strategies Inventory. Cogn Ther Res 1989; 13: 343–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Faith MS, Leone M, Ayers TS, et al. Weight criticism during physical activity, coping skills, and reported physical activity in children. Pediatrics 2002; 110: e23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Radloff LS. The CES-D Scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Appl Psychol Meas 1977; 1: 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Baron RM, Kenny DA. The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. J Pers Soc Psychol 1986; 51: 1173–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sobel ME. Asymptotic intervals for indirect effects in structural equations models. In: Leinhart S (Ed) Sociological methodology. San Franscisco, Jossey- Bass, 1982, pp 290–312.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bower GH. Mood and memory. Am Psychol 1981; 36: 129–48.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cohen LH, Towbes LC, Flocco R. Effects of induced mood on self-reported life events and perceived and received social support. J Pers Soc Psychol 1988; 55: 669–74.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Editrice Kurtis2011 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

Personalised recommendations