Conversations About Weight in Healthcare Settings and How it Relates to Patients' Trust
Weight stigma, or discrimination based on weight, is prevalent and is associated with negative physiological and psychological consequences. The healthcare setting is one of the main places people experience weight stigma. This study examines how conversations about weight in healthcare settings are related to trust in the healthcare system and trust in healthcare providers among people with obesity. We recruited 199 participants with obesity (i.e., BMI ¬> 30) from Prolific to complete a survey that assessed their reactions to conversations about weight with a healthcare provider as well as their trust in their healthcare system and primary care provider. Our findings showed that people who reported feeling guilty after receiving weight-related advice also reported lower trust in the healthcare system and healthcare providers. We also found that participants who reported feeling motivated or hopeful receiving weight-related advice indicated greater levels of trust. We did not find that a higher BMI was associated with lower trust scores. Participants who had felt judged by a healthcare provider also reported lower trust scores. Future research should investigate other consequences of conversations about weight in healthcare settings, such as delaying or avoiding healthcare visits, as well as further explore the full range of emotional and behavioral reactions people with obesity have to conversations about weight.