The mediating role of internalized weight stigma on weight perception and depression among emerging adults: Exploring moderation by weight and race Academic Article uri icon


  • The current study examined internalized weight stigma as a mediator of the association between self-perceived weight and depressive symptoms. University students (Nā€‰=ā€‰317) aged 18-25 years completed measures of self-perceived weight, internalized stigma, and depressive symptoms. Multigroup path analyses were used to examine the indirect effect of self-perceived weight on depression through self-stigma. Findings revealed that among persons of size, internalized stigma mediated the effect of higher self-perceived weight on higher depressive symptoms. Among lean persons, this indirect effect was only significant for Black participants. Among all groups, the direct effect of self-perceived weight on internalized stigma was significant. While the present results warrant future replication, the findings expand our understanding of the association between self-perceived weight and depression. These results also illuminate potential future opportunities for rich, culturally informed research and clinical advances that take into account the detrimental role of weight stigma.

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Decker, K. M., Thurston, I. B., & Kamody, R. C.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • October 2018