Examining Risk and Protective Factors in the Association Between Discrimination Stress and Body Mass Index in a Sample of LatinX Adults
Keywords:LatinX, Discrimination stress, Discrimination, stress, Depression, Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, BMI, Social Support
In 2016, the State of Obesity Organization reported that Latinx populations (38.7%) have a higher obesity rate than non-Latinx white populations (25.6%). Discrimination stress is one factor that has been found to be associated with obesity. Studies show that greater discrimination stress is associated with increased obesity in Latinx populations; however, research has not focused on the protective and risk factors that may influence this association, such as depressive symptoms and social support. While depressive symptoms may help in explaining the association between discrimination stress and obesity, protective factors, like social support may buffer this association. The purpose of the present study was to examine depressive symptoms as a mediator and social support as a moderator of the association between discrimination stress and obesity among a sample of Latinx adults. A national sample of Latinx adults (N = 632) was recruited using Qualtrics Panel to participate in an online survey. Discrimination stress, depressive symptoms, social support, and Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of obesity, was assessed through self-report measures. Discrimination stress was not significantly associated with BMI; however, depressive symptoms fully mediated the association between discrimination stress and BMI. Social support was not found to be a significant moderator. These results suggest that greater discrimination stress is associated with more depressive symptoms, which in turn are associated with a higher BMI among Latinx adults. These findings have implications for the development of culturally sensitive prevention programs.
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