Personality characteristics and body image in obese individuals

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The aim of this study was to determine the personality characteristics of obese and morbidly obese individuals with no psychiatric disorder and the correlation between these characteristics and body image and self-esteem.


Sixty-nine obese individuals and 69 healthy controls, matched in age, sex and marital status, were included in the study. Psychiatric disorders were excluded for all participants using SCID-I and II. Obese and healthy volunteers were compared in terms of body image, self-esteem and personality characteristics.


TCI harm avoidance scores were higher in obese individuals compared to healthy controls. Harm avoidance scores were also higher in individuals with morbid obesity compared to non-morbid individuals, while self-directedness and persistence scores were lower. Body image dissatisfaction was higher in obese individuals. There was a negative correlation in obese individuals between body image and self-esteem scale scores and harm avoidance scores, and a positive correlation with self-directedness scores.


An elevated harm avoidance temperament characteristic may be correlated with obesity. Furthermore, high harm avoidance, low self-directedness and low persistence may be significant personality characteristics in a process leading to morbid obesity. In addition, harm avoidance temperament and self-directedness personality characteristics may be correlated with body image dissatisfaction and self-esteem in obese individuals.

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