Internalized weight bias in patients presenting for bariatric surgery

A. F. Wagner, M. Butt, A. Rigby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: Internalized weight bias (IWB) is significantly related to poor psychosocial health outcomes in patients with increased body mass index (BMI). The objective of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties and correlates of the Weight-Bias Internalization Scale in a pre-surgical bariatric population. Methods: Self-report measures were administered to patients prior to surgery. Measures assessed internalized weight bias, body dissatisfaction, depression, anxiety, quality of life, and eating behaviors. Statistical methods included confirmatory factor analysis to examine the factor structure [of the WBIS] in this population, descriptive statistics, correlations, and hierarchical linear regression between continuous variables to determine patterns of associations, and t-tests to compare levels of IWB between the current sample and previously documented samples. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis indicated an acceptable fit using a one-factor structure for the WBIS, with one item removed. Mean WBIS in the current sample was comparable to that documented in a community sample of adults with overweight and obesity, as well as a sample of adolescents seeking bariatric surgery. Additionally, IWB was positively associated with body dissatisfaction, restrained, emotional, and external eating, depression, and anxiety, and negatively associated with quality of life. Further, individuals endorsing episodes of loss of control over eating had significantly higher WBIS scores. Conclusions: This study highlights the strong pattern of associations with measures of body image, disordered eating, and quality of life point toward the relevance of IWB to bariatric patients' experiences. Future studies to explore the longitudinal effects of IWB in a post-bariatric population are needed particularly to understand psychosocial and surgical health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101429
JournalEating Behaviors
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Internalized weight bias in patients presenting for bariatric surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this