Obesity and depressive symptoms in college women: analysis of body image experiences and comparison to non-obese women

Pamela A. Sarigiani, Anna L. Olsavsky, Phame M. Camarena, Stephanie M. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The primary focus of this study was to understand obesity and depressive symptoms in college women. Using non-obese women as a contrast group, obese and non-obese women were compared on body image and psychological adjustment. Additional analyses further examined the obese women by comparing obese women with high versus low depressive symptoms. A total of 51 obese and 524 non-obese college women completed an online survey. Obese women had significantly lower body image and self-esteem and higher depressive symptoms than non-obese women. Obese women with high depressive symptoms reported more eating problems and poorer body image than obese women with low depressive symptoms. Qualitative coding identified factors linked to low depressive symptoms in obese women including: more positive histories of interpersonal relationships; resisting the internalization of weight bias; and other areas of competence taking the focus off of body image experiences. Implications of these findings for intervention design are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-779
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescence and Youth
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 31 2020

Keywords

  • Obesity
  • body image
  • college women
  • depressive symptoms

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