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Obesity, body dissatisfaction and emotional well-being in early and late adolescence: findings from the Project EAT study


Mond, J and van den Berg, P and Boutelle, K and Hannan, P and Neumark-Sztainer, D, Obesity, body dissatisfaction and emotional well-being in early and late adolescence: findings from the Project EAT study, Journal of Adolescent Health, 48, (4) pp. 373-378. ISSN 1054-139X (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.07.022


Purpose: We tested the hypothesis that, at two different stages of adolescence, impairment in emotional well-being associated with obesity is mediated by body dissatisfaction.

Methods: Self-report measures of body dissatisfaction, emotional well-being (self-esteem, depressive mood), height and weight and socio-demographic information were completed by the same female (n=366) and male (n=440) participants during early (mean age = 12.8 years) and late (17.3 years) adolescence. For each measure and at each time point, the hypothesis of mediation was tested using the methods suggested by Baron & Kenny (1986).

Results: The conditions of complete mediation were satisfied in all 6 cases for which an effect of obesity on emotional well-being was observed. That is, in each of these cases, obesity was no longer associated with lower self-esteem or with higher depressive mood after the effects of body dissatisfaction were statistically controlled. Among females, there was no association between obesity and depressive mood at either time point.

Conclusions: Impairment in the emotional well-being of overweight adolescents, where this is observed, may be due primarily to the effects of weight-related body dissatisfaction. This appears to be the case for both boys and girls and during both early and late adolescence. The findings are consistent with the view that body dissatisfaction is central to the health and well-being of children and adolescents who are overweight and that distress associated with negative body image may warrant greater attention in the context of obesity prevention and treatment programs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Obesity, Body dissatisfaction, Emotional well-being
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Mond, J (Dr Jon Mond)
ID Code:117935
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:149
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2017-06-29
Last Modified:2018-07-12

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