Objective: To evaluate the associations between weight-based stigmatization, psychological distress, and binge eating behavior in a treatment-seeking obese sample.
Methods: Ninety-three obese adults completed three questionnaires: 1) Stigmatizing Situations Inventory, 2) Brief Symptoms Inventory, and 3) Binge Eating Questionnaire. Correlational analyses were used to evaluate the association between stigmatizing experiences, psychological distress and binge eating behavior.
Results: Stigmatizing experiences predicted both binge eating behavior (R(2)=.20, p<.001) and overall psychological distress (R(2)=.18, p<.001). A substantial amount of the variance in binge eating predicted by weight-based stigmatization was due to the effect of psychological distress. Specifically, of the 20% of the variance in binge eating accounted for by stigmatizing experiences, between 7% and 34% (p<.01) was due to the effects of various indicators of psychological distress.
Conclusions: These data suggest that weight-based stigmatization predicts binge eating behavior and that psychological distress associated with stigmatizing experiences may be an important mediating factor.