Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology



First Advisor

Stephanie E. Miller

Second Advisor

Karen A. Christoff

Third Advisor

Elicia Lair

Relational Format



The prevalence of excess weight and obesity among children and adolescents in the United States continues to increase. Aside from the different effects weight has on a person’s physical and psychological well-being, obese youth often experience poorer social functioning than normal weight peers. Weight teasing is among those highlighted social difficulties. Pediatric weight management program interventions have been shown to improve health-related quality of life (HRQoL) across domains for obese youth. However, few studies have examined the impact of weight management interventions on social quality of life for those with a history of weight teasing. The present study aimed to determine social functioning and weight improvements obese youth with and without a history of weight teasing following a weight management intervention. Baseline differences in teasing and social functioning were also highlighted. Results of this study indicated that treatment-seeking obese youth with a history of weight teasing exhibited poorer social quality of life at baseline compared to those who denied teasing. Results also indicated that a weight management intervention can be effective for improving social functioning and weight status among obese youth. Social functioning and weight status improvements from baseline to 1-year follow-up did not differ between those enrolled in individual-based and group-based interventions. Improvements in social functioning and weight status between obese youth who denied or endorsed weight teasing and were either enrolled in the group-based or individual-based track did not differ significantly between groups. Overall, this study demonstrates that pediatric weight management is effective for improving quality of life and weight among obese youth, specifically obese youth who report a history of being teased for their weight. While they do not improve significantly more than their counterparts, intervention can be effective for improving their weight status and social functioning. Implications for these data are discussed.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.