Psychological pathways explaining the prospective association between obesity and physiological dysregulation.

TitlePsychological pathways explaining the prospective association between obesity and physiological dysregulation.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsI Putra, GNgurah Edi, Daly, M, Sutin, A, Steptoe, A, Robinson, E
JournalHealth Psychol
Volume42
Issue7
Pagination472-484
ISSN Number1930-7810
KeywordsAged, Body Mass Index, Body Weight, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Obesity, Social Stigma, Weight Gain
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Obesity is associated with a range of negative psychological conditions that may also affect physiological health. Across two studies, we tested whether a range of psychological measures explain why obesity is prospectively associated with physiological dysregulation, measured via clinical indicators of cardiovascular, immune system, and metabolic function.

METHOD: We used comparable 4-year follow-up representative longitudinal data of U.K. and U.S. older adults (≥50 years) from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2008/2009-2012/2013; Study 1; n = 6,250) and the Health and Retirement Study (2008/2010-2012/2014; Study 2; n = 9,664). A diverse range of psychological measures (e.g., depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, weight stigma, positive affect) were tested as candidate mediators in Studies 1 (n = 14) and 2 (n = 21).

RESULTS: Obesity predicted physiological dysregulation at follow-up across both studies. In Study 1, only weight stigma (measured between baseline and follow-up) explained 37% of the association between obesity and physiological dysregulation. In Study 2, only changes in weight stigma from baseline to follow-up (not baseline weight stigma) explained 13% of the effect of obesity on future physiological dysregulation. Mediation by weight stigma in both studies was partially attenuated when changes in body mass index from baseline to follow-up were controlled for. No other psychological measures explained the association between obesity and physiological dysregulation in either study.

CONCLUSIONS: The prospective association between obesity and physiological dysregulation was largely not explained by psychological factors. However, experiencing weight stigma is associated with increased weight gain and this process may explain obesity-related declines in physiological health. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

DOI10.1037/hea0001284
Citation Key13465
PubMed ID37338426
Grant List / / Economic and Social Research Council /
/ / United Kingdom Research and Innovation /