Obesity and overweight have reached epidemic proportions in the United States (WHO, 1988). Despite the various treatment programs, the problem is getting worse, more people are becoming obese, and it is estimated that 90-95% of those who lose weight will regain it (Legro, 2000). Current treatment programs fail to take into consideration emotional variability within this population. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationships between attachment, BMI, and psychopathology. Obese participants (N = 101) seeking treatment for weight loss completed 3 questionnaires: 1) Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised, 2) Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-Ill, and 3)Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Patterns-Revised. Results indicated that attachment moderated the relationship between BMI and dysthymic symptoms, major depressive symptoms, and alcohol dependency symptoms. "Secure"ly and "Fearful"ly attached participants at high BMI were generally more distressed than "Securely and "Fearful"ly attached participants at low BMI. However, 78 avoidant and "Preoccupied" participants at high BMI were generally less distressed than avoidant and "Preoccupied" participants at low BMI. Such findings suggest that increases in BMI are associated with distress or lack of distress dependent on attachment classification. Assessment and treatment implications are elaborated.

Document Type


Publication Date