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Internalised Weight Stigma Mediates Relationships Between Perceived Weight Stigma and Psychosocial Correlates in Individuals Seeking Bariatric Surgery: a Cross-sectional Study

Obes Surg. 2022 Sep 12. doi: 10.1007/s11695-022-06245-z. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Research suggests that internalised weight stigma may explain the relationship between perceived weight stigma and adverse psychological correlates (e.g. depression, disordered eating, body image disturbances). However, few studies have assessed this mechanism in individuals seeking bariatric surgery, even though depression and disordered eating are more common in this group than the general population.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used data from a cross-sectional study with individuals seeking bariatric surgery (n = 217; 73.6% female) from Melbourne, Australia. Participants (Mage = 44.1 years, SD = 11.9; MBMI = 43.1, SD = 7.9) completed a battery of self-report measures on weight stigma and biopsychosocial variables, prior to their procedures. Bias-corrected bootstrapped mediations were used to test the mediating role of internalised weight stigma. Significance thresholds were statistically corrected to reduce the risk of Type I error due to the large number of mediation tests conducted.

RESULTS: Controlling for BMI, internalised weight stigma mediated the relationship between perceived weight stigma and psychological quality of life, symptoms of depression and anxiety, stress, adverse coping behaviours, self-esteem, exercise avoidance, some disordered eating measures and body image subscales, but not physical quality of life or pain.

CONCLUSION: Although the findings are cross-sectional, they are mostly consistent with previous research in other cohorts and provide partial support for theoretical models of weight stigma. Interventions addressing internalised weight stigma may be a useful tool for clinicians to reduce the negative correlates associated with weight stigma.

PMID:36094627 | DOI:10.1007/s11695-022-06245-z

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