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

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


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 


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Copyright information

© Editrice Kurtis2011 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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