Subtle Discrimination and Subjective Well-Being in Obese Patients: The Personal/Group Discrimination Discrepancy

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Abstract

An increasing number of people are facing the burden of obesity. Besides the medical problems that are related to obesity, the reviewed literature shows that this disease has become a social stigma that affects the health-related quality of life of obese people. The study focused specifically on how the Personal/Group Discrimination Discrepancy may be related to obese individuals’ subjective well-being (affect balance and life satisfaction). This concept refers to the phenomenon that members of groups who are potential targets of discrimination perceive a higher level of discrimination directed at their group than at themselves as individuals. A cross-sectional study with 72 obese patients of a Spanish University Hospital was conducted. It was found that personal discrimination was negatively related to subjective well-being, whereas group discrimination was not. Additionally, participants reported stronger levels of group discrimination than personal discrimination, and this personal/group discrimination discrepancy was related to affect balance (but not life satisfaction). Finally, it is suggested the importance of including social variables in the studies about health-related quality of life in obese populations.

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