How Does Stigma Influence One’s Perception of Obesity? The Relationship Between Obesity, Locus of Control, and Depression
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Obesity is a serious and prevalent condition in the United States, with high risk for physical and mental morbidity and mortality. Previous research suggests that obesity and depression are causally linked with a focus on the responsible biological, psychological, and social mechanisms. This study aims to identify personality characteristics, specifically, locus of control, that may moderate the relationship between obesity and depression. A sample of 250 adults from the United States was recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk. An online questionnaire was utilized to assess demographics, body mass index (BMI), locus of control, depression, and self-esteem. Overweight and obese participants with a BMI over 25 and an external locus of control had marginally significant higher depression scores and significantly lower self-esteem scores compared to normal weight participants with an internal locus of control. Secondary analyses found that participants who were younger, had a high BMI, and experienced greater depression were significantly more likely to experience societal stigma. This research is one of the first to evaluate whether locus of control moderates the relationship between obesity and depression. Personality specific intervention programs should be created to reduce obesity and depression among a group of external individuals who lack self-motivation, and depend on outside factors to promote self-change.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2015
- F&M Theses Collection