Familism, Self-Esteem, and Weight-Specific Quality of Life Among Latinx Adolescents With Obesity

J Pediatr Psychol. 2020 Sep 1;45(8):848-857. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsaa047.


Objective: Obesity is a critical public health condition affecting Latinx adolescents and contributes to health disparities across the lifespan. Childhood and adolescent obesity is associated with reduced quality of life (QoL) and decreased self-esteem. The purpose of this study is to examine the role of cultural (e.g., familism) and psychosocial (e.g., self-esteem) factors as predictors of weight-specific QoL among Latinx adolescents with obesity.

Methods: Baseline data from 160 Latinx adolescents (ages 14-16 years) with obesity (BMI > 95th percentile for age and sex) who were recruited for a diabetes prevention intervention were used. Structural equation modeling tested the relationships between four latent constructs (familism, positive self-esteem, self-deprecation, and weight-specific QoL).

Results: The model tested paths from familism to positive self-esteem, self-deprecation, and weight-specific QoL, and paths from positive self-esteem and self-deprecation to weight-specific QoL. Higher familism was positively associated with positive self-esteem but not self-deprecation. In turn, positive self-esteem was positively associated with higher weight-specific QoL, whereas self-deprecation was negatively associated. Furthermore, there was an indirect effect of familism on QoL via positive self-esteem.

Conclusions: These data shed light into specific cultural and psychosocial constructs that influence QoL among Latinx adolescents with obesity. This study suggests that familism and positive self-esteem can operate as protective factors associated with higher weight-specific QoL in Latinx adolescents with obesity; whereas self-deprecation may operate as a risk factor for lower weight-specific QoL.

Keywords: Latinx adolescents; familism; quality of life; self-esteem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept*