An attempt to reduce the heterogeneity of an obese population by distinguishing sub-groups according to social adjustment



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



A review of literature suggested the feasibility of distinguishing 2 meaningful sub-groups within an obese population according to social and sexual adjustment. 8 hypotheses were stated concerning how these 2 subgroups would differ in descriptions of themselves, their fathers and mothers as individuals, and their parental units. 55 adult female volunteers were divided into 3 weight groups, i.e., obese, normal weight, and underweight. Each of the extreme weight groups was then divided Into 2 sub-groups, mini- or less-social and modali- or adequately-social, based on scores on a social adjustment scale. In addition, each subject reported descriptions of herself, her mother, and her father on the Interpersonal Check List. Dominance and Love scores were calculated for each individual described and were combined to elicit descriptions of the parental unit for each subject. The 5 groups of subjects were compared, 2 at a time, by the t-test on the variables of Dominance and Love of self, maternal Dominance and Love, paternal Dominance and Love, total parental Dominance and Love, and maternal- paternal discrepancy in showing Dominance and Love. The results indicated that the 2 sub-groups of obese subjects differed significantly on 2 variables, Self Dominance and Absolute Love Discrepancy. The modali- social obese described themselves as being more dominant. The mini-social obese reported greater discrepancy between their parents in the expression of love. Significant differences related to weight occurred In 2 comparisons. The normal weight subjects described themselves as more dominant than did the underweight subjects, and the minisocial obese described themselves as more dominant than did the minisocial underweight. Kost of the significant differences occurred between social adjustment groups across weights with the more adequately social groups consistently describing themselves and their parents as more dominant than did the less adequately adjusted groups. These results failed to support previously reported differences between obese and normal weight women, and several explanations of this were offered. The results, however, did suggest that attention to social adjustment is valuable in allowing more definitive statements to be made about persons exhibiting maladaptive behaviors. Implications for future research were discussed.



Obesity--Psychological aspects