Khan, S, Tarrant, M, Kos, K, Daly, M, Gimbuta, C and Farrow, C (2020) Making Connections: Social Identification with New Treatment Groups for Lifestyle Management of Severe Obesity. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. ISSN 1099-0879

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Groups are regularly used to deliver healthcare services, including the management of obesity, and there is growing evidence that patients’ experiences of such groups fundamentally shape treatment effects. This study investigated factors related to patients’ shared social identity formed within the context of a treatment group for the management of severe obesity. A cross-sectional survey was administered to patients registered with a UK medical obesity service and enrolled on a group-based education and support programme. Patients (N=78; MBMI = 48 on entry to the service) completed measures of group demographics (e.g., group membership continuity) and psychosocial variables (e.g., past experiences of weight discrimination), and reported their social identification with the treatment group. The results showed that patients identified with the treatment group to the extent that there was continuity in membership across the programme and they perceived themselves more centrally in terms of their weight status. Weight centrality was negatively associated with external social support and positively associated with experiences of weight discrimination. Group continuity was positively correlated with session attendance frequency. Patients presenting to clinical treatment services with severe obesity often do so after sustained weight loss failure and exposure to negative societal experiences. This study highlights that providing a treatment environment wherein these experiences can be shared with other patients may provide common ground for development of a new, positive social identity that can structure programme engagement and progression.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) will be available online via Wiley at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: group‐based health interventions; group membership; severe obesity; social identity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2020 13:54
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2021 01:30

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