Weight discrimination inflates psychological health risk and academic impairment in sexual minority cisgender college students relative to their heterosexual peers

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Abstract

This study examined whether exposure to weight discrimination modified the association between sexual orientation, self-reported eating disorders, self-reported depression and academic impairment in a large sample of college students. Participants (n = 13,782) were from the 2015–2018 College Student Health Survey. Logistic regressions tested whether weight discrimination magnified psychological health concerns and academic impairment in sexual minority students (i.e., lesbian, gay) relative to their heterosexual peers and were stratified by gender (cisgender men and cisgender women). Sexual minority men and women reported more weight discrimination, eating disorders, depression, and academic impairment than their heterosexual peers, even after controlling for BMI and race. Among sexual minority men and women, weight discrimination was associated with increased eating disorders and academic impairment, but not depression. Weight discrimination increased the rate of eating disorders, depression, and academic impairment, however, the rate was still higher among sexual minority students regardless of weight discrimination status or gender. College-based interventions should aim to reduce weight stigmatization and its associated influence on psychological health and academic functioning, and address the needs of sexual minority college students, as they may be at highest risk. Clinicians should work to reduce the harms of weight discrimination, particularly in sexual minority young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEating disorders
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

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© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis.

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