Effects of Obesity on Psychosocial Functioning Across Ethnic Background
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Research has shown stigmatizing experiences of discrimination and oppression based on weight have a significant effect on the psychological functioning of both children and adults. Whether these experiences occur in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, they manifest themselves in several different conditions. Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and binge eating disorder are examples of the psychological conditions typically seen among those who are overweight and obese. This proposed study will test the effects of cultural attitudes towards weight on the psychological functioning of overweight and obese females. Cultural environments affect weight-based discrimination, which leads to disordered psychological functioning in many situations. For example, Caucasian Americans tend to have much more negative views of overweight and obese individuals due to beliefs about the controllability of weight than the African American community. Additionally, because. of the influence of other racially based stigmas, African Americans are less likely to discriminate others based on weight. Therefore, it was hypothesized that less disordered psychological functioning would be found among African Americans compared to Caucasian Americans.