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Title: How does socio-economic disadvantage influence body weight? : the mediating role of psychological distress and maladaptive coping strategies
Author: Stewart, J.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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Chapter One is a systematic review which aims to investigate existing research into the relationships between socio-economic status (SES), psychological distress and maladaptive eating behaviours. To date, no systematic review has been published which examines the available literature on the inter-relationships between these variables. This area was chosen for review due to a recent theoretic model by Hemmingsson (2014), which proposes a socio-emotional model of obesity encompassing these variables. Eleven papers were found to meet criteria for the review. Chapter Two is an empirical paper which aimed to explore the role of psychological and emotional factors in the relationship between SES and BMI. Lower SES has been shown to be significantly associated with higher body weight (Parsons, Power, Logan, & Summerbelt,1999). There is currently little understanding as to the psychological mechanisms which underpin this relationship (Stamatakis, Primatesta, Chinn, Rona, & Falascheti, 2005). The majority of available research has considered non-psychological factors such as availability of low-cost food, however, findings of such research have not been able to fully account for the relationship between SES and obesity (Cobb et al., 2015). The aim of the empirical paper was to investigate predictions based on the theoretical socio-emotional model of obesity proposed by Hemmingsson (2014). Primarily, the study considers whether socio-economic disadvantage increases psychological distress which, in turn, promotes maladaptive coping behaviours, such as emotional eating, and ultimately obesity. Furthermore, the study assesses if resilience moderates the association between socio-economic disadvantage and distress, thus providing a protective role. The empirical paper will be submitted to the British Journal of Health Psychology for publication. This journal was chosen by the author due to its interest in publishing original research into psychological aspects of health and health-related behaviours. As a result, it was felt that the empirical paper was appropriate for the journal in question and satisfied its remit and objectives.
Supervisor: Hardman, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral