Relationship of Weight-Based Teasing and Adolescents' Psychological Well-Being and Physical Health


  • This study was supported by a grant from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).



To date, research has focused primarily on psychological correlates of weight-based teasing. In this study, we extended previous work by also examining physical health-related variables (eg, physical self-concept and physical fitness [PF]).


Participants included 1419 middle school students (637 boys and 782 girls). Of these, 245 (17.3%) reported being teased about being overweight. Participants completed measures of self-esteem, depression, physical self-concept, physical activity (PA) self-efficacy, and self-report physical and sedentary activities. Participants also completed PF testing.


After controlling for demographic characteristics, participants who were teased about being overweight had higher scores on depression and lower scores on self-esteem, physical self-concept, PA self-efficacy, and health-related measures of PF in comparison to participants who were not teased.


The results of this study support previous research indicating relationships between teasing and low levels of psychological well-being, physical self-concept, and PA self-efficacy, and establishes one between weight-based teasing and different types of PF. Research is needed to determine the potential causal nature of the relationships between teasing and fitness and evidence-based interventions are needed to reduce weight-based teasing and its potential effects on health and well-being.