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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Jul;15(7):1799-807.

Impact of psychosocial factors on quality of life in overweight youth.

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Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100165, Gainesville, FL 32610-0165, USA.



The psychosocial functioning of overweight youth is a growing concern. Research has shown that overweight children report lower quality of life (QOL) than their non-overweight peers. This study sought to extend the literature by examining the association between peer victimization, child depressive symptoms, parent distress, and health-related QOL in overweight youth. Mediator models are used to assess the effect of child depressive symptoms on the relationship between psychosocial variables and QOL.


The sample consisted of 96 overweight and at-risk-for-overweight children (mean age=12.8 years) and their parents who were recruited from a Pediatric Endocrinology Obesity Clinic. Parents completed a demographic questionnaire, the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory-parent-proxy version, and the Brief Symptom Inventory. Children completed the Children's Depression Inventory-Short Form, the Schwartz Peer Victimization Scale, and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory.


Increased parent distress, child depressive symptoms, and peer victimization were associated with lower QOL by both parent-proxy and self-report. Child depressive symptoms mediated the relationship between psychosocial variables (parent distress and peer victimization) for self-reported QOL but not for parent-proxy-reported QOL.


This study documented the important impact of peer victimization and parental distress on the QOL of overweight children. Expanding our understanding of how overweight children experience and interact with their environment is critical. Further research is needed to examine the mechanisms by which parent distress and peer victimization impact the development of depressive symptoms in overweight children, including coping and support strategies that may buffer these children against the development of depressive symptoms and ultimately lower QOL.

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