Project ID NS-MH2024_27


Co Supervisor 1A Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences, Department of PsychologyWebsite

Co Supervisor 1B Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences, Department of PsychologyWebsite

Does weight change mitigate the negative impact of weight discrimination on health and wellbeing?

Negative attitudes towards people who are obese are widespread and weight discrimination is frequently seen as socially acceptable. People with obesity commonly report being treated disrespectfully in shops and even medical settings. Studies have linked experiences of weight discrimination with poor psychological wellbeing. This stigma can become internalised which further undermines wellbeing. Weight discrimination has negative implications for physical health and has been associated with weight-promoting behaviours and weight gain.

Weight is not a fixed characteristic and can change over time. Attempts to lose weight are common in community settings. At higher weight ranges, bariatric surgery is a successful treatment for obesity. It is unclear whether weight loss influences the health and wellbeing of those who have experienced weight discrimination.

Aim: To use primary data from bariatric service settings and secondary data from community cohort studies to assess whether weight loss can mitigate the impact of weight discrimination on health and psychosocial wellbeing.

Y1: Secondary data analysis using epidemiological cohorts
Statistical analysis of data from community dwelling adults (n=~17,000) to explore i)trajectories of weight following weight discrimination ii)whether weight loss positively influences psychosocial wellbeing in people who previously reported weight discrimination.

Data sources: 1) US Health and Retirement Study 2) English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. These studies have harmonised weight discrimination data. Objectively assessed weight and measures of health and psychosocial wellbeing are collected longitudinally.

Y2: Primary data collection pre-post bariatric surgery
Longitudinal survey of ~150 clinically obese individuals to explore i)whether weight discrimination influences psychological adjustment after bariatric surgery ii)the relationship between weight discrimination and weight change post-surgery.

Y3: Interviews
Interviews with ~30 individuals undergoing bariatric surgery who have and have not experienced weight discrimination to explore differences in internalised stigma, health-related beliefs and psychosocial wellbeing.

Techniques/skills: Data collection in the NHS, statistical analysis of large datasets, interviewing.

Representative Publications

Perceived discrimination, health, and well-being among adults with and without pain: a prospective study. Scott W, Jackson SE, Hackett RA, 2022, Pain. DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002368 –

Associations between age discrimination and health and wellbeing: cross-sectional and prospective analysis of the English longitudinal study of ageing, Jackson SE, Hackett RA, Steptoe, A, 2019, Lancet Public Health. DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(19)30035-0 –

Sex discrimination and mental health in women: A prospective analysis, Hackett RA, Steptoe A, Jackson SE, 2019, Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/hea0000796. –

The impact of COVID?19 on health behaviour, well?being, and long?term physical health, McBride E, Arden MA, Chater A, & Chilcot J, 2021, British Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.3390/kidneydial1020014 –

Do exercise, physical activity, dietetic or combined interventions improve body weight in new kidney transplant recipients: a narrative systematic review and meta-analysis, Castle E, McBride E, Greenwood J, Bramham K, Chilcot J, Greenwood S, 2021, Kidney and Dialysis. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12520 –

Anxiety and distress following receipt of results from routine HPV primary testing in cervical screening: The psychological impact of primary screening (PIPS) study, McBride E, Marlow LAV, Forster AS, Patnick J, Waller J, 2020, International Journal of Cancer, 2020. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.32540