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J Psychosom Res. 2010 Dec;69(6):541-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.06.006.

Body mass index and victimization during adolescence: the mediation role of depressive symptoms and self-esteem.

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Department of Psychology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.



This study applied a multi-method approach to examine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and the experience of victimization during adolescence by investigating the role of intrapersonal feelings.


The sample consisted of 2051 adolescents (M=13.8 years, S.D.=0.7; 51% male) from seven high schools in the Netherlands. Participants' weight and height were measured and they completed self-report questionnaires on victimization, depressive symptoms and self-esteem. Self-reported and peer-reported measures of victimization were collected and combined to create three different victimization types (i.e., self/peer-identified, self-identified, and peer-identified).


Hierarchical logistic regression analyses revealed that higher BMI was associated with both self/peer-identified victimization and self-identified victimization. Intrapersonal feelings (i.e., depressive symptoms and self-esteem) were found to mediate these associations. However, BMI was not associated with peer-identified victimization.


These findings suggest that the association between BMI and victimization might be exclusively related to the self-perception of high BMI adolescents. Moreover, the mediation effects indicate that the perception of victimization might be linked to psychological difficulties of adolescents with high BMI. Thus, to fully understand the associations between weight status and victimization, intrapersonal mechanisms need to be examined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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