Development and initial validation of a brief scale for assessing psychological distress in obese adults

Linda Abou Abbas, Pascale Salameh, Zeinab Mansour, Zeina Nasser, Elias Elias, Isabelle Godin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of this study was to develop a brief measure of psychological distress related to obesity, intended specifically for use among the Arab adult populations, and to test its psychometric properties. Methods: Items of the scale were identified through examination of relevant literature, discussions with obese adults, and expert panel feedback. Validity and reliability of the scale were tested using two convenience samples of Lebanese obese adults (n = 380). The scale was also administered to a third sample of obese depressed patients (n = 50) for clinical validation. Internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and construct validity were assessed. Results: Exploratory factor analysis revealed two factors reflecting "Social functioning" and "Psychological functioning" that explained 78.2% of the total variance. Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the two-factor model with good data fit. The scale demonstrated high internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.96 and 0.95 for samples 1 and 2, respectively) and test-retest reliability (Intraclass coefficient = 0.91). Significant correlations were found between Obesity specific Distress total score and constructs measuring the impact of weight on quality of life (r = -0.73), body shape dissatisfaction (r = 0.76), and psychological distress (r = 0.66) suggesting good convergent validity. Our results also provide some evidence of the discriminant validity of the scale. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the Obesity-specific Distress scale is a valid and reliable measure of distress in the obese adult population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Epidemiology and Global Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Exploratory factor analysis
  • Obesity
  • Psychological distress
  • Psychometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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