Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Both obesity and pain are pervasive public health problems, contributing to significant disability in the United States and worldwide. Studies have demonstrated a positive association between obesity and pain, with increasing BMI related to increasing levels of pain intensity; however, the mechanisms underlying this relationship are not well understood. The present study assessed the presence of pain, pain-related disability, and pain beliefs in a morbidly obese (BMI > 40 kg/m2) sample participating in a medically-supervised, nonsurgical weight loss intervention. After controlling for demographic variables and depression, pain was reported in 36.7% of the sample (N = 390). Results indicated that greater level of pain severity at the outset of treatment was significantly associated with poorer weight loss treatment outcome at one year [F(3, 205) = 20.50, p < .001]. Pain beliefs, specifically catastrophizing, did not contribute to this relationship. The presence of pain was also significantly related with decrements in health-related quality of life, after controlling for the impact of age, BMI, and depression [F(4, 204) = 14.61, p < .001]. The findings of the present study provide preliminary evidence that pain severity is an important indicator of treatment outcomes for morbidly obese individuals trying to lose weight by nonsurgical methods. Further research is needed to more clearly understand prognostic implications of the comorbidity of pain on obesity treatment, as well as the impact of incremental weight loss on pain outcomes.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Brantley, Phillip J



Included in

Psychology Commons