Implications of Weight-Based Stigma and Self-Bias on Quality of Life Among Individuals With Schizophrenia

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Obesity has been associated with significant stigma and weight-related self-bias in community and clinical studies, but these issues have not been studied among individuals with schizophrenia. A consecutive series of 70 obese individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder underwent assessment for perceptions of weight-based stigmatization, self-directed weight bias, negative affect, medication compliance, and quality of life. The levels of weight-based stigmatization and self-bias were compared with levels reported for nonpsychiatric overweight/obese samples. Weight measures were unrelated to stigma, self-bias, affect, and quality of life. Weight-based stigmatization was lower than published levels for nonpsychiatric samples, whereas levels of weight-based self-bias did not differ. After controlling for negative affect, weight-based self-bias predicted an additional 11% of the variance in the quality of life measure. Individuals with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder reported weight-based self-bias to the same extent as nonpsychiatric samples despite reporting less weight stigma. Weight-based self-bias was associated with poorer quality of life after controlling for negative affect.

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