Weight self-stigma and its association with quality of life and psychological distress among overweight and obese women

  • Mahdieh Abbasalizad FarhangiEmail author
  • Mahsa Emam-Alizadeh
  • Fatemeh Hamedi
  • Leila Jahangiry
Original Article



There are limiting studies evaluating the weight self-stigma and its association with eating disorders and health concerns. However, no study is available evaluating weight self-stigma and its determinants among reproductive age women in Iran. The aim of this study was to evaluate weight self-stigma and its association with quality of life and psychological distress among overweight and obese Iranian women.

Materials and methods

The current cross-sectional study was performed among 170 women aged 17–45 years referring to health centers of Tabriz-Iran. Anthropometric assessments were performed. Weight self-stigma was assessed by weight self-stigma questionnaire (WSSQ). Evaluation of quality of life and psychological distress was performed using SF-12 and general health questionnaires (GHQ-12), respectively. Analysis of data was performed by multivariate hierarchical regression analysis using SPSS 18 software.


In this study, the multivariate hierarchical regression analysis revealed that being married and having low total weight self-stigma and fear of enacted stigma (FES) scores were associated with better physical component summary scores (p < 0.05). Whereas, younger ages and lower total weight self-stigma scores were associated with better mental component summary scores. In addition, lower weight self-stigma total scores and lower self-devaluation scores were predictors of lower psychological distress.


Our results indicated the negative impacts of weight self-stigma on quality of life and psychological distress among overweight and obese women. Since weight stigma might be a potent barrier of obese individuals to engage in health promoting behaviors, therefore, the results of the current study further warrants the need for developing interventional strategies to reduce the adverse impacts of weight stigma on quality of life via including the reduction of weight self-stigma as a key therapeutic goal in obesity treatment programs.


Obesity Weight stigma SF-12 GHQ-12 



This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The work has been performed according to ethical standards of the national ethics committee.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all of the participants before participation in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahdieh Abbasalizad Farhangi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mahsa Emam-Alizadeh
    • 1
  • Fatemeh Hamedi
    • 1
  • Leila Jahangiry
    • 2
  1. 1.Nutrition Research Center, Department of Nutrition in Community, Faculty of NutritionTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  2. 2.Health Education and Health Promotion Department, School of Public HealthTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran

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