Perceived Weight Discrimination Mediates the Prospective Relation Between Obesity and Depressive Symptoms in U.S. and U.K. Adults.

TitlePerceived Weight Discrimination Mediates the Prospective Relation Between Obesity and Depressive Symptoms in U.S. and U.K. Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsRobinson, E, Sutin, AR, Daly, M
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume36
Issue2
Pagination112-121
ISSN Number1930-7810
KeywordsBMI, Cross-National, Depressive symptoms, Health Conditions and Status, Obesity, Older Adults, Perception, Self-reported health
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. (PsycINFO Database Record

DOI10.1037/hea0000426
Alternate JournalHealth Psychol
Citation Key8700
PubMed ID27748611