Effects of Weight Teasing on Body Esteem in Youth with Overweight and Obesity: A Longitudinal Investigation of Protective Factors

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Valois, Darcie Desneiges




The stigma associated with obesity puts youth at risk for weight-based teasing. However, not all youth who are weight-teased develop body dissatisfaction. This study examined whether secure attachment and social support are protective factors that may buffer the negative effects of weight teasing on body esteem. Participants were overweight and obese youth (N = 277 at T1, 54% female; M age = 13.43) who completed surveys annually for 4 years. Multilevel modeling showed that weight teasing negatively predicted body esteem. A peer teasing by attachment interaction was also found such that those with a secure attachment reported higher weight esteem than those with an insecure attachment. Contrary to our hypothesis, peer teasing was more strongly and negatively related to weight esteem for those securely attached compared to insecurely attached. Findings suggest that attachment style and weight teasing should be considered in body dissatisfaction treatment and prevention strategies in overweight/obese youth.


Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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