Clustering of psychosocial symptoms in overweight children

Lisa Gibson, Susan Byrne, Eve Blair, Elizabeth Davis, P. Jacoby, Stephen Zubrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aims of the present study were to (i) examine the relationship between children's degree of adiposity and psychosocial functioning; and (ii) compare patterns of clustering of psychosocial measures between healthy weight and overweight/obese children.Method: Cross-sectional data from a population-based cohort of 158 healthy weight, 77 overweight, and 27 obese children aged 8-13 years were analysed. Height, weight depression, quality of life, self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms, peer relationships and behavioural and emotional problems were measured.Results: Multi-level analysis showed significant linear associations between child body mass index z-scores and the psychosocial variables, with increasing adiposity associated with increasing levels of psychosocial distress. Principal components analyses indicated subtle differences between the healthy weight and overweight/obese groups with regards to the clustering of psychosocial measures. In particular, in overweight/obese, but not in healthy weight children, global self-worth clustered with body image and eating disorder symptoms.Conclusions: The psychosocial burden of excess weight is significant and broad reaching, with overweight/obese children showing multiple significant psychosocial problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-125
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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