PloS one 2016 Oct 2811(10) e0165566 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0165566
Internalized weight stigma has gained growing interest due to its association with multiple health impairments in individuals with obesity. Especially high internalized weight stigma is reported by individuals undergoing bariatric surgery. For assessing this concept, two different self-report questionnaires are available, but have never been compared: the Weight Self-Stigma Questionnaire (WSSQ) and the Weight Bias Internalization Scale (WBIS). The purpose of the present study was to provide and to compare reliability, convergent validity with and predictive values for psychosocial health outcomes for the WSSQ and WBIS.
The WSSQ and the WBIS were used to assess internalized weight stigma in N = 78 prebariatric surgery patients. Further, body mass index (BMI) was assessed and body image, quality of life, self-esteem, depression, and anxiety were measured by well-established self-report questionnaires. Reliability, correlation, and regression analyses were conducted.
Internal consistency of the WSSQ was acceptable, while good internal consistency was found for the WBIS. Both measures were significantly correlated with each other and body image. While only the WSSQ was correlated with overweight preoccupation, only the WBIS was correlated with appearance evaluation. Both measures were not associated with BMI. However, correlation coefficients did not differ between the WSSQ and the WBIS for all associations with validity measures. Further, both measures significantly predicted quality of life, self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, while the WBIS explained significantly more variance than the WSSQ total score for self-esteem.
Findings indicate the WSSQ and the WBIS to be reliable and valid assessments of internalized weight stigma in prebariatric surgery patients, although the WBIS showed marginally more favorable results than the WSSQ. For both measures, longitudinal studies on stability and predictive validity are warranted, for example, for weight-related and psychosocial outcomes.