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Article in Journal ()

Perceived weight discrimination mediates the prospective relation between obesity and depressive symptoms in US and UK adults

Citation
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.

Abstract
Objective:

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.
Method:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusion:
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.

Keywords
obesity; depression; obesity stigma; discrimination; weight stigma

StatusPublished
AuthorsRobinson Eric, Sutin Angelina, Daly Michael
Publication date02/2017
Publication date online17/10/2016
Date accepted by journal27/07/2016
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
ISSN 1930-7810
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Health Psychology: Volume 36, Issue 2

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