The Identity Threat of Weight Stigma in Adolescents

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Abstract

Obesity remains a serious public health issue in adolescents, who may be subjected to weight stigma leading to increased stress and poor health outcomes. Stigma can be detrimental to adolescents during self-identity formation. The purpose of this study was to examine weight stigma in adolescents in light of the Identity Threat Model of Stigma. A cross-sectional correlational design was used to examine the relationships among the variables of weight stigma, psychosocial stress, coping styles, disordered eating, and physical inactivity. Regression modeling and path analysis were used to analyze the data. Over 90% of the sample had scores indicating weight stigma or antifat bias. Avoidant coping style and psychosocial stress predicted disordered eating. The strongest path in the model was from avoidant coping to disordered eating. The Identity Threat Model of Stigma partially explained adolescents’ weight stigma. Nursing practice implications are discussed.

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