Body Image, Eating and Weight Clinical Research Team (BEWT)
My publication titled: "Correlates of weight stigma in adults with overweight and obesity: A systematic literature review" was conducted alongside Associate Professor Leah Brennan who leads the Body Image, Eating and Weight Research Team (BEWT).
This explores the evidence for the relationships between weight-stigma and biopsychosocial outcomes. We found that weight-stigma was related to a range of biological (e.g., high BMI), psychological (e.g., increased depression, lowered self-esteem) and social (e.g., reduced social support) health outcomes. Further to this, our work demonstrated that these relationships may be strengthened once weight-stigma is internalized by the individual affected. In other words, an individual who considers negative weight-related stereotypes to be true of themselves, as well as begin to accept negative mistreatment directed towards them because of their weight, may experience worse health outcomes, relative to individuals who experience weight-stigma.
This is an open access paper published in Journal Obesity.
We also have unpublished work demonstrating that weight-stigma plays a mediating role between BMI and bipsychosocial health outcomes. Specifically, this work suggests that the experience of weight-stigma, beyond the contribution of weight alone, may be contributing to negative biological (e.g., high blood pressure), psychological (e.g., eating disorder psychopathology), and social (e.g., reduced social relationship quality) outcomes. There is other published work in the literature demonstrating this relationship. This finding is important as it challenges obesity research that documents a direct BMI-biopsychosocial relationship, and highlights that the way someone is treated regarding their weight, as opposed to weight alone, plays an important role in influencing health outcomes. This work was presented at the ANZAED eating disorder conference, Sydney.
Currently, we are expanding on weight-stigma research in my PhD through the development of a new comprehensive measure of weight-stigma. Stay tuned!
Weight Stigma conference, London, Ontario, Canada