An Examination of Weight, Weight Bias, and Health Care Utilization and Attitudes Among Emerging Adults

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McCauley, Jessica M
stigma; weight bias; emerging adulthood; health care utilization; obesity; Health Psychology
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thesis / dissertation description
Individuals with overweight/obesity have been found to exhibit more negative attitudes toward health care and disproportionate rates of health care delay and avoidance, compared to their healthy weight peers. The present study sought to examine potential mechanisms through which weight status influences health care utilization and attitudes. Six hundred and thirty-three students completed a questionnaire measuring weight status, perceived weight bias, patient-provider relationship, and health care utilization and attitudes. Although the majority of the paths in the proposed theoretical mediation model were supported by the present findings, there was no support for the anticipated link between perceived weight bias and the patient-provider relationship or weight-related embarrassment. Overall, these results corroborated previous findings in a novel sample, but did not provide evidence that perceived weight bias mediates the relationship between weight status and health care outcomes. Possible explanations for these findings are deliberated.