Recent experiences of weight-based stigmatization in a weight loss surgery population: psychological and behavioral correlates.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the association between experiences of weight-based stigmatization (e.g., job discrimination, inappropriate comments from physicians) within the past month, psychological functioning, and binge eating among a sample of individuals seeking weight loss surgery. METHODS AND PROCEDURE: Ninety-four obese adults (25 males and 69 females) seeking weight loss surgery underwent a diagnostic clinical interview and completed a battery of self-report questionnaires measuring experiences of weight-related stigmatization, psychological adjustment, and binge eating behavior. RESULTS: Weight-based stigmatization was a common experience within the past month among participants. Frequency of stigmatizing experiences was negatively associated with self-esteem and positively associated with depression, anxiety, body image disturbance, and emotional eating. Recent experiences of stigmatization were associated with a diagnosis of binge eating disorder. DISCUSSION: Weight-based stigmatization is a common experience among obese individuals seeking weight loss surgery, and these experiences are associated with deleterious consequences. It appears that environmental barriers (e.g., chairs too small, not being able to find medical equipment in an appropriate size) and interpersonal attacks are the most common stigmatizing experiences. These data justify future studies to better understand causal relationships and efforts to design and test interventions aimed at reducing weight-based stigmatization and the associated negative consequences.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Friedman, KE; Ashmore, JA; Applegate, KL

Published Date

  • November 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 Suppl 2 /

Start / End Page

  • S69 - S74

PubMed ID

  • 18978766

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1930-7381

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/oby.2008.457


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States