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Title: The role of subjective well-being in mediating the psychological impact of obesity
Author: Todd, V. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 884X
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2014
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Background: There is an ever increasing population of obese people worldwide (Kelly et al., 2010), with associated increased costs in terms of morbidity and mortality (Berrington de Gonzelez et al., 2010), so there is a need for appropriate public health interventions. Subjective well-being (SWB) has been identified as facilitating health and longevity (Diener & Chan, 2011), so may be a useful mediator to counteract the negative effects of obesity. Aims: Two major aims of the study were; to identify the facets of SWB that protect against psychological ill-health in the obese and those that activate change. Method: A mixed-methods approach was taken that included both quantitative cross-sectional survey data based on validated constructs that combine to measure SWB and qualitative longitudinal data based on unstructured interviews. The ideographic approach brought a narrative to the nomothetic data and elevated the study from the ‘what’ to the ‘why’. Two key samples were selected; adolescents (N = 549) and obesity surgery candidates (N = 125) to represent the spectrum of obesity experience. Results: Findings support the study’s aims in highlighting the role of SWB correlates in mapping the pathway to progress in the regulation of obesity. The alignment of the constructs and the configuration of the models accounted for up to 51% of the variance in life-satisfaction, and up to 73% of the variance in self-esteem. Qualitative analysis suggested emerging themes either reflected in the constructs used in the study, or concepts raised in the literature review, such as cognitive dissonance, and illustrated adaptive and maladaptive behavioural processes to the challenges of obesity. Conclusion: Salient outcomes provide recognition of; the physical appearance anxiety measure (PASTAS), as an identification marker for maladaptive problems at a critical phase of adolescent development; the role of optimism for agentic shift towards a positive perspective; and the understanding that controlled anti-depressant drug use may facilitate freedom and empowerment for adaptive purposes in a severely obese population.
Supervisor: Mcilroy, David ; Poole, Helen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: BF Psychology ; RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine