Experiences of weight stigma and links with self-compassion among a population-based sample of young adults from diverse ethnic/racial and socio-economic backgrounds

Rebecca M. Puhl, Susan Telke, Nicole Larson, Marla E. Eisenberg, Dianne Neumark-Stzainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This study examines weight stigma experiences in a population-based sample of young adults from diverse ethnic/racial and socio-economic backgrounds, and explores cross-sectional associations between weight stigma and self-compassion, including gender differences in this relationship. Methods: Data come from EAT 2018, a population-based study of weight and related behaviors in young adults (N = 1523, mean age = 22 years, 53.5% females). Adjusted models tested associations between different experiences of weight stigma and the Self-Kindness Subscale of the Self-Compassion Scale, controlling for age, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity/race, and SES. Results: Over a third (32.3–52.2%) of participants reported experiences of weight teasing, and almost half (39.2–54.8%) indicated that people in their work or school settings are treated differently based on weight. There were few differences across ethnic/racial groups in reports of weight stigma. The prevalence of weight stigma experiences reported by participants in their current school or work environment was similar across gender, and those who had experienced weight stigma had lower levels of self-kindness. Among both females and males, lower self-kindness scores were associated with the experience of weight teasing (females: χ2 = 22.6, df = 1, p < .001, d = 0.32; males χ2 = 7.6, df = 1, p < .001, d = 0.22). For females only, lower self-kindness scores were associated with being treated unfairly due to weight (χ2 = 11.1, df = 1, p < .001, d = 0.23), and having others make comments about your weight (χ2 = 14.6, df = 1, p < .001, d = 0.28). Findings remained after adjusting for race/ethnicity, BMI, and SES. Conclusion: Associations between self-compassion and experiences of weight stigma found in our diverse sample of young adults offers insights on this understudied relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110134
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume134
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data collection for the study was supported by Grant Number R01HL127077 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PI: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer). The authors' time to conduct and describe the analysis reported within this manuscript was supported by Grant Number R35HL139853 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PI: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Self-compassion
  • Self-kindness
  • Weight stigma
  • Weight teasing
  • Young adults

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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