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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Nov;16 Suppl 2:S75-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.450.

Self-reported stigmatization among candidates for bariatric surgery.

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Department of Psychiatry, Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


The popularity of bariatric surgery has increased the focus on the psychological aspects of extreme obesity. Although a growing literature has documented the psychosocial burden associated with extreme obesity, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the experience of weight-related stigmatization among extremely obese individuals. The present study investigated self-reported experiences of weight-related stigmatization, weight-related quality of life, and depressive symptoms among 117 extremely obese individuals (BMI = 48.2 +/- 7.5 kg/m2) who presented for bariatric surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In general, these individuals reported infrequent weight-related stigma, which was unrelated to BMI. Some specific forms of stigmatization, however, appear to be related to body size. The occurrence of stigmatization was associated with poorer weight-related quality of life and greater symptoms of depression.

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