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Title Womens Experiences of Perceived Weight Based Discrimination and Psychological Distress a Test of Social Identity Theory
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Publication Date
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Counseling Psychology - Psychology
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Florida
Abstract diThis dissertation explores women’s experiences of perceived weight-based discrimination within a social identity theory framework to better understand the link between discrimination and adverse psychological consequences. Previous research has demonstrated that identity status within itself is a worse predictor of distress than discrimination associated with that identity status. For women of size, previous research has demonstrated the perception of discrimination based on weight is associated with poorer psychological outcomes such as greater depression, poorer body image, greater isolation, greater suicidal ideation, and lower self-esteem. However, no work to date has examined this phenomenon within a social identity theory framework. Social identity theory postulates that all individuals gain personal self-esteem through the self-esteem they gain by being associated with one or more social groups. This social or collective self-esteem is heightened if the person belongs to a valued group and is lessened if the person belongs to a devalued group. In this dissertation, a structural equation model tested a hypothesized model in which women’s reports of weight-based discrimination predict public collective self-esteem, which would then predict private collective self-esteem, which, in turn, would predict personal self-esteem, which finally would predict psychological distress, operationally defined as disordered eating and depression symptomatology in this dissertation. A weight,socioeconomic, and age diverse but primarily White and heterosexual sample of 216 women completed measures of weight-based discrimination, public collective self-esteem, private collective self-esteem, personal self-esteem, disordered eating and depression. Data obtained from this sample was used to test the hypothesized model through structural equation modeling. Results indicate the model fit the data well, superiorly to alternative logical models, and explained 64% of the variance associated with participants’ depression and 25% of participants’ disordered eating. Additionally, participants were able to recall various types of weight-based discrimination throughout the past year and their lifetime. Taken together, the results suggest the women sampled do perceive differential treatment based on weight which in turn affects their self-esteem by being reminded they belong to a devalued social group and affects their mental health. ( en )
Subjects/Keywords Employment discrimination; Gender discrimination; Obesity; Psychological counseling; Psychological research; Psychology; Self esteem; Social discrimination; Social psychology; Weight based discrimination; depression  – disordered-eating  – self-esteem  – weight-discrimination  – women
Contributors Heesacker, Martin (committee chair); Miller, Scott A (committee member); Shehan, Constance L (committee member); Funderburk, Jamie Ruth (committee member)
Language en
Country of Publication us
Record ID florida:etd:UFE0045708
Repository florida
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-12-06
Grantor University of Florida

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…Abstract Of Dissertation Presented To The Graduate School Of The University Of Florida In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of Doctor Of Philosophy WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES OF PERCEIVED WEIGHT-BASED DISCRIMINATION AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS…

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