Robinson E, Sutin A & Daly M (2017) Perceived weight discrimination mediates the prospective relation between obesity and depressive symptoms in US and UK adults, Health Psychology, 36 (2), pp. 112-121.
Obesity has been shown to increase risk of depression. Persons with obesity experience discrimination because of their body weight. Across 3 studies, we tested for the first time whether experiencing (perceived) weight-based discrimination explains why obesity is prospectively associated with increases in depressive symptoms.
Data from 3 studies, including the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2008/2009–2012/2013), the Health and Retirement Study (2006/2008–2010/2012), and Midlife in the United States (1995/1996–2004/2005), were used to examine associations between obesity, perceived weight discrimination, and depressive symptoms among 20,286 U.S. and U.K. adults.
Across all 3 studies, Class II and III obesity were reliably associated with increases in depressive symptoms from baseline to follow-up. Perceived weight-based discrimination predicted increases in depressive symptoms over time and mediated the prospective association between obesity and depressive symptoms in all 3 studies. Persons with Class II and III obesity were more likely to report experiencing weight-based discrimination, and this explained approximately 31% of the obesity-related increase in depressive symptoms on average across the 3 studies.
In U.S. and U.K. samples, the prospective association between obesity (defined using body mass index) and increases in depressive symptoms in adulthood may in part be explained by perceived weight discrimination.
obesity; depression; obesity stigma; discrimination; weight stigma
|Authors||Robinson Eric, Sutin Angelina, Daly Michael|
|Publication date online||17/10/2016|
|Date accepted by journal||27/07/2016|
|Publisher||American Psychological Association|
Health Psychology: Volume 36, Issue 2