The Social and Emotional Lives of Overweight, Obese, and Severely Obese Children

Child Dev. 2016 Sep;87(5):1564-80. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12548. Epub 2016 May 25.


This study examines inter- and intrapersonal problems associated with being overweight among one thousand one hundred sixty-four 6- to 7-year-olds (49% boys) in 29 rural schools. Socioemotional data include child self-reports, peer sociometrics, and teacher reports. Results support the hypothesis that children with weight problems struggle socially and emotionally, and extend current understanding of child obesity by demonstrating that problems appear early, are evident in a community sample, can be identified using standard sociometric methods, and are worse among children with severe obesity. Sociometric status difference between levels of obesity were also found. Although obese children were neglected by peers, severely obese children were rejected.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Obesity, Morbid / psychology*
  • Oklahoma
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / psychology*
  • Peer Group*
  • Psychological Distance*
  • Rural Population