Journal of Public Health

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 195–202 | Cite as

Dispositional mindfulness promotes public health of the obesity population by reducing perceived discrimination and weight stigma concerns

  • Wenjie DuanEmail author
  • Zhenglang Wang
Original Article



Perceived discrimination and weight stigma concerns are believed to induce negative emotional symptoms. In this article, we tested the mediation effect of perceived discrimination and weight stigma concerns on the association between dispositional mindfulness and negative emotional symptoms.

Subjects and methods

A total of 254 recruited obesity participants who provided their height and weight and completed the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale were investigated along with their stigma-related variables (perceived discrimination and weight stigma concerns).


The results indicated a negative association between dispositional mindfulness and perceived discrimination and between weight stigma concerns and negative emotional symptoms. Perceived discrimination, weight stigma concerns, and negative emotional symptoms were also positively correlated. The mediation analysis showed that perceived discrimination mediated the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and negative emotional symptoms rather than weight stigma concerns, which mediated the relationship between perceived discrimination and negative emotional symptoms.


Mindfulness may benefit negative emotional symptoms of obese individuals by reducing the effect of perceived discrimination, which further reduces weight stigma concerns. The results shed light on mindfulness-based weight stigma reduction interventions.


Mindfulness Obesity Negative emotional symptoms Multiple mediation model 



The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: National Social Science Foundation-Youth Project “Research on the Construction of National Index of Sense of Gain” (17CSH073) and Wuhan University Humanities and Social Sciences Academic Development Program for Young Scholars “Sociology of Happiness and Positive Education” (WHU2016019).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics statement

Ethical approval for the study was granted by Department of Sociology, Wuhan University, and the approved protocol was followed.

Informed consent

Participants signed a written informed consent prior to the study.


  1. Baer RA (2003) Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clin Psychol-Sci Pr 10:125–143. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baer RA, Fischer S, Huss DB (2005) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy applied to binge eating: a case study. Cogn Behav Pract 12:351–358. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baer RA, Smith GT, Hopkins J, Krietemeyer J, Toney L (2006) Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment 13:27–45. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baer RA, Smith GT, Lykins E, Button D, Krietemeyer J, Sauer S, Walsh E, Duggan D, Williams JMG (2008) Construct validity of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and nonmeditating samples. Assessment 15:329–342. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnes S, Brown KW, Krusemark E, Campbell WK, Rogge RD (2007) The role of mindfulness in romantic relationship satisfaction and responses to relationship stress. J Marital Fam Ther 33:482–500. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bishop SR (2002) What do we really know about mindfulness-based stress reduction? Psychosom Med 64:71–83. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bishop SR, Lau M, Shapiro S, Carlson L, Anderson ND, Carmody J, Segal ZV, Abbey S, Speca M, Velting D, Devins G (2004) Mindfulness: a proposed operational definition. Clin Psychol-Sci Pr 11:230–241. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown KW, Ryan RA, Creswell JD (2007) Mindfulness: theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychol Inq 18:211–237. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown KW, Ryan RM (2003) The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. J Pers Soc Psychol 84:822–848. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carr D, Friedman MA (2005) Is obesity stigmatizing? Body weight, perceived discrimination, and psychological well-being in the United States. J Health Soc Behav 46:244–259. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chacko SA, Yeh GY, Davis RB, Wee CC (2016) A mindfulness-based intervention to control weight after bariatric surgery: preliminary results from a randomized controlled pilot trial. Complement Ther Med 28:13–21. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coffey KA, Hartman M (2008) Mechanisms of action in the inverse relationship between mindfulness and psychological distress. Complement Health Pract Rev 13:79–91. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coffey KA, Hartman M, Fredrickson BL (2010) Deconstructing mindfulness and constructing mental health: understanding mindfulness and its mechanisms of action. Mindfulness 1:235–253. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Duan W, Ho SMY, Yu B, Tang X, Zhang Y, Li T, Yuen T (2012) Factor structure of the Chinese virtues questionnaire. Res Social Work Prac 22:680–688. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duan W, Li J (2016) Distinguishing dispositional and cultivated forms of mindfulness: item-level factor analysis of five-facet mindfulness questionnaire and construction of short inventory of mindfulness capability. Front Psychol 7:1348. Google Scholar
  16. Hagger MS, Luszczynska A, de Wit J, Benyamini Y, Burkert S, Chamberland P-E, Chater A, Dombrowski SU, van Dongen A, French DP, Gauchet A, Hankonen N, Karekla M, Kinney AY, Kwasnicka D, Lo SH, Lopez-Roig S, Meslot C, Marques MM, Neter E, Plass AM, Potthoff S, Rennie L, Scholz U, Stadler G, Stolte E, ten Hoor G, Verhoeven A, Wagner M, Oettingen G, Sheeran P, Gollwitzer PM (2016) Implementation intention and planning interventions in health psychology: recommendations from the synergy expert group for research and practice. Psychol Health 31:814–839. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hanley AW, Garland EL (2017) Clarity of mind: structural equation modeling of associations between dispositional mindfulness, self-concept clarity and psychological well-being. Pers Indiv Differ 106:334–339. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hatzenbuehler ML, Keyes KA, Hasin DS (2009) Associations between perceived weight discrimination and the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in the general population. Obesity 17:2033–2039. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hayes A (2013) Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis. A regression-based approach. Guilford, New York. Google Scholar
  20. Hunger JM, Major B (2015) Weight stigma mediates the association between bmi and self-reported health. Health Psychol 34:172. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hunger JM, Major B, Blodorn A, Miller CT (2015) Weighed down by stigma: how weight-based social identity threat contributes to weight gain and poor health. Soc Psychol Personal Compass 9:255–268. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kabat-Zinn J, Hanh TN (2009) Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. Delacorte, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Katterman SN, Kleinman BM, Hood MM, Nackers LM, Corsica JA (2014) Mindfulness meditation as an intervention for binge eating, emotional eating, and weight loss: a systematic review. Eat Behav 15:197–204. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kristeller JL, Hallett CB (1999) An exploratory study of a meditation-based intervention for binge eating disorder. J Health Psychol 4:357–363. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lillis J, Hayes SC, Bunting K, Masuda A (2009) Teaching acceptance and mindfulness to improve the lives of the obese: a preliminary test of a theoretical model. Ann Behav Med 37:58–69. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Major B, Hunger JM, Bunyan DP, Miller CT (2014) The ironic effects of weight stigma. J Exp Soc Psychol 51:74–80. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Major B, O’Brien LT (2005) The social psychology of stigma. Annu Rev Psychol 56:393–421. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. O’Reilly GA, Cook L, Spruijt-Metz D, Black DS (2014) Mindfulness-based interventions for obesity-related eating behaviours: a literature review. Obes Rev 15:453–461. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Olson KL, Emery CF (2015) Mindfulness and weight loss: a systematic review. Psychosom Med 77:59–67. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pascoe EA, Richman LS (2009) Perceived discrimination and health: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull 135:531–554. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Puhl RM, Brownell KD (2001) Bias, discrimination, and obesity. Obes Res 9:788–805. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Puhl RM, Heuer CA (2009) The stigma of obesity: a review and update. Obesity 17:941–964. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rogers JM, Ferrari M, Mosely K, Lang CP, Brennan L (2017) Mindfulness-based interventions for adults who are overweight or obese: a meta-analysis of physical and psychological health outcomes. Obes Rev 18:51–67. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schmitt MT, Branscombe NR, Postmes T, Garcia A (2014) The consequences of perceived discrimination for psychological well-being: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull 140:921–948. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shapiro SL, Carlson LE, Astin JA, Freedman B (2006) Mechanisms of mindfulness. J Clin Psychol 62:373–386. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sperber AD (2004) Translation and validation of study instruments for cross-cultural research. Gastroenterology 126:S124–S128. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sutin, AR, Terracciano, A (2013) Perceived weight discrimination and obesity. PLoS ONE 8:e70048.
  38. Tang X, Duan W, Wang Z, Liu T (2016) Psychometric evaluation of the simplified chinese version of flourishing scale. Res Social Work Prac 26:591–599. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Teasdale JD (1999) Metacognition, mindfulness and the modification of mood disorders. Clin Psychol Psychother 6:146–155.<146::aid-cpp195>;2-e CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Teasdale JD, Moore RG, Hayhurst H, Pope M, Williams S, Segal ZV (2002) Metacognitive awareness and prevention of relapse in depression: empirical evidence. J Consult Clin Psych 70:275–287. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Teasdale JD, Segal Z, Williams JMG (1995) How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness) training help. Behav Res Ther 33:25–39. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wang K, Shi HS, Geng FL, Zou LQ, Tan SP, Wang Y, Neumann DL, Shum DHK, Chan RCK (2016) Cross-cultural validation of the depression anxiety stress scale-21 in China. Psychol Assessment 28:E88–E100. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. WHO Expert Consultation (2004) Appropriate body-mass index for asian populations and its implications for policy and intervention strategies. Lancet 363:157–163. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Williams DR, Yu Y, Jackson JS, Anderson NB (1997) Racial differences in physical and mental health socio-economic status, stress and discrimination. J Health Psychol 2:335–351. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Williams MJ, Dalgleish T, Karl A, Kuyken W (2014) Examining the factor structures of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire and the self-compassion scale. Psychol Assessment 26:407–418. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyWuhan UniversityWuhan CityPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations