Coping with weight change during the life cycle : a qualitative study
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Individuals can experience weight fluctuations during their life. This is associated with events, such as work, marriage, having children or social pressure. Weight change can affect health related quality of life and one’s attitude and is a situation that needs to be coped with. Research in this area is limited, especially taking different life events into consideration and how individuals cope with weight change. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how certain events are associated with weight change, how weight change influences health related quality of life and how individuals cope with the weight change. Five individuals were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview that assessed how certain events influenced their weight, how this affected them emotionally, physically and mentally and how they coped with the weight change. Data were obtained through individual, semi-structured interviews. Following prolonged engagement and transcription, the data were inductively analyzed and organized into emerging patterns and themes. In addition, the data were deductively analyzed. The findings revealed that weight fluctuations were triggered by significant single events or a combination of events. Results indicated that unintended gained weight could lead to decreased HRQL and intended weight loss could lead to an increased HRQL. Weight gain could negatively influence one’s self-image while weight loss could increase energy levels and work as a motivator to lose more weight. Weight change did not only affect attitudes and HRQL but also the importance of the event that was associated with the weight change. Eventually depending on the chosen coping strategy - problem-focused or emotion focused - the individuals lost, gained weight or maintained the same weight. This study suggests that losing weight does not only lead to a better HRQL (e.g., increased energy levels) but also a different attitude, such a thinking that it is possible to eat those things that one ate before attempting to lose weight and in turn gaining weight again. All in all, there are many different ways that weight can be influenced, there are different ways that an individual can be affected and there are different ways of coping. ...
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Waller, Katja (University of Jyväskylä, 2011)
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