Psychosocial Adjustment in Pediatric Obesity: A Study With Parents, Children and Adolescents

Roberta Frontini, Maria João Gouveia, Helena Moreira, Maria Cristina Canavarro


Aim: This study aims to 1) compare the quality of life (QoL) and psychological problems of children/adolescents with obesity, overweight and healthy weight, as well as the QoL and depressive and anxiety symptoms of their parents; and 2) investigate if parental psychosocial adaptation is associated with the QoL of children/adolescents through their psychological problems, and whether these associations are moderated by the age of the child/adolescent. Method: The sample comprised 264 dyads (parent-child) divided into 3 groups (healthy weight, overweight and obesity). Results: Children/adolescents with obesity reported worse QoL and more psychological problems than children/adolescents with healthy weight. Adolescents reported worse QoL than children. Parents of children/adolescents with obesity reported worse QoL and more anxiety and depressive symptoms compared to parents of normal-weight children/adolescents. The association between parental anxiety and the QoL of children/adolescents was mediated by psychological problems of adolescents. Conclusion: It is fundamental to implement multidisciplinary family focused interventions, aiming not only at the weight loss of children/adolescents with obesity, but also at the promotion of mental health and QoL of these children/adolescents and of their parents.


obesity; overweight; quality of life; psychological problems; family