Relationship of weight-based teasing and adolescents' psychological well-being and physical health

  • Greenleaf C
  • Petrie T
  • Martin S
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BACKGROUND: To date, research has focused primarily on psychological correlates of weight-based teasing. In this study, we extended previous work by also examining physical health-related variables (eg, physical self-concept and physical fitness [PF]).

METHODS: Participants included 1419 middle school students (637 boys and 782 girls). Of these, 245 (17.3%) reported being teased about being overweight. Participants completed measures of self-esteem, depression, physical self-concept, physical activity (PA) self-efficacy, and self-report physical and sedentary activities. Participants also completed PF testing.

RESULTS: After controlling for demographic characteristics, participants who were teased about being overweight had higher scores on depression and lower scores on self-esteem, physical self-concept, PA self-efficacy, and health-related measures of PF in comparison to participants who were not teased.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study support previous research indicating relationships between teasing and low levels of psychological well-being, physical self-concept, and PA self-efficacy, and establishes one between weight-based teasing and different types of PF. Research is needed to determine the potential causal nature of the relationships between teasing and fitness and evidence-based interventions are needed to reduce weight-based teasing and its potential effects on health and well-being.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Depression
  • Physical fitness
  • Teasing
  • Weight stigma

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  • Christy Greenleaf

  • Trent A. Petrie

  • Scott B. Martin

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