Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Obesity Stigma, Psychological Flexibility and Disordered Eating Behavior Amongst People who are Overweight and Obese
by Squyres, Emily R., M.S., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2014, 94; 1585875
Abstract (Summary)

Psychological struggle seems to be an inherent part of the human experience. Unfortunately, the public attitude towards the obese focuses more on negative stereotypes (e.g., undisciplined, ugly, stupid, and lazy) than on the underlying psychological components that lie at the heart of the struggle. Negative stereotypes like these have an affect upon the way the obese think about themselves and may lead to self-stigmatization, which in turn may interfere with a person's attempt to gain control of their health and emotional well-being when eating is used to relieve the associated distress. Many people who struggle with their weight are found to be very rigid in their thought processes regarding food. Perhaps it is not the content of food and body-related cognitions that is important, but the inflexibility with which they are held.

The current study will investigate the relationships among avoidant eating behavior, perceived stigmatization, self-stigmatization, and psychological flexibility. Participants will be recruited from a population of obese individuals who are seeking help at a bariatric clinic, and from Facebook. Participants will initially complete a packet of questionnaires on psychological flexibility, perceived stigmatization, self-stigmatization, and eating behavior online. Then for seven days they will receive four text messages a day for seven days, three of which will provide them with a link to the Periodic Assessment of Stigmatizing Experiences, and one text message providing a link to the Daily Eating Survey. It is hypothesized that 1) Perceived stigmatizing experiences (i.e., a fear of enacted stigma from society) will predict disordered eating 2) Weight- and food-related psychological inflexibility will moderate the relationship between perceived stigmatizing experiences and disordered eating 3) Self-stigma (i.e., self-devaluation due to perceived stigmatization from society) will moderate the relationship between perceived stigmatizing experiences and disordered eating 4) Psychological inflexibility will predict increased perceived self-stigma.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sandoz, Emily K.
Commitee: Brown, Amy, Perkins, Rick
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Behavioral psychology, Social psychology, Clinical psychology
Publication Number: 1585875
ISBN: 9781321655988
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