Social stigma and self-esteem as mediators of the relationship between Body Mass Index and Internet addiction disorder. An exploratory study
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The present study aimed at investigating the mediational effects of social stigma and self-esteem on the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI) and Internet addiction disorder. A total of 413 participants aged between 18 and 26 years old (M = 20.94 SD = 2.95) were assessed with self-report standardized questionnaires exploring self-esteem (i.e. Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale - RSES), Internet addiction (i.e. Young Internet Addiction Test- YIAT), and social-stigma (i.e. Perception of Teasing Scale - POT), and with objective measures related to BMI. Results showed a partial direct association between BMI and Internet addiction. Specifically, our mediation model revealed a good fit to data showing that BMI is a directly significant predictor of Internet addiction (β = .10) and social stigma (β = .27). Social stigma, in turn, predicts self-esteem (β = −.19) and Internet addiction (β = .12). Furthermore, self-esteem predicts Internet addiction. In conclusion, the results of the present study suggest that people who are stigmatized for being overweight exhibit low levels of perceived self-esteem, and increase, in turn, their perceived levels of Internet addiction.
KeywordsBody Mass Index Social stigma Self-esteem Internet addiction
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Author A declares that he/she has no conflict of interest. Author B declares that he has no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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