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BMC Public Health. 2014 Mar 5;14:224. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-224.

Traditional and cyberbullying victimization as correlates of psychosocial distress and barriers to a healthy lifestyle among severely obese adolescents--a matched case-control study on prevalence and results from a cross-sectional study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Watersportlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. ann.desmet@ugent.be.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Obese youth are at increased risk for peer victimization, which may heighten their risk of psychosocial problems and physical activity avoidance, and lower the effectiveness of professional and lifestyle weight-loss initiatives. Little is known about obese adolescents' risk for victimization from cyber-bullying and how this relates to psychosocial functioning and healthy lifestyle barriers. The purpose of the study was to assess traditional and cyber-victimization among adolescents with severe obesity and its relation to psychosocial distress and barriers to healthy lifestyles.

METHODS:

A sample of 102 obese adolescents (mean age=15.32±1.71) in residential treatment was matched with 102 normal-weight youngsters from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study (mean age=15.30±1.73).

RESULTS:

Adolescents with obesity were significantly more often cyber-victimized than normal-weight peers. Obese youth victimized by traditional bullying experienced lower quality of life, lower motivation for physical activity and higher avoidance and emotional coping towards healthy lifestyles than those non-victimized. Obese cyber-victims experienced significantly higher suicidal ideation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Traditional and cyber-victimization may hinder treatment effectiveness and healthy lifestyle change in adolescents with obesity. Health professionals should pro-actively address peer victimization and psychosocial functioning during multidisciplinary obesity treatment. Schools could contribute to a better physical and psychosocial health of obese youth by implementing multi-behavioral health-promotion programs.

PMID:
24593118
[PubMed - in process]
PMCID:
PMC3975929
Free PMC Article
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