Obesity Research 

In Ireland, Beyond Stigma is currently involved in a piece of new research on self-stigma and obesity. The research is being led by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with Beyond Stigma and The Bridge Medical Centre. The goal of the research is to determine the impact of inquiry based stress reduction (ISBR) on the mental health and wellbeing amongst a clinical sample of overweight individuals in Ireland. The study is currently underway, learn more below: 

Research Team

Coordination: Dr Brendan O'Shea, Geraldine Wade, Nadine Ferris France
Research: Geraldine Wade
Group Trainer and Certified Facilitator: Nadine Ferris France, 
Certified Facilitators: Ursula Carlin, Mary Tuohy, Brid Ni Chionala, Clodagh O'Mara, Tony Carlin

Research Protocol

Research Question:
Self-stigma in Obesity: What are the effects of Inquiry Based Stress Reduction on mental health and wellbeing among a clinical sample of overweight individuals?

Research Aims:
To undertake a qualitative piece of research with 20 individuals who have a BMI of 30 or above over a period of 3 months using ISBR technique with them to address weight related stigma. A facilitator of 'The Work of Byron Katie' will deliver IBSR using standarised guidelines and the process will be evaluated by an independent observer for the purpose of the study. 

Hypothesis:
IBSR has the potential of reducing self-stigma levels and improving the mental health and wellbeing among a sample of overweight adults. IBSR can help create a more positive mind set and depressive symptoms will decrease. This will cause a more positive attitude towards their physical health. This would be consistent with the benefits seen from other types of mindfulness programs. 

Outcomes:
Investigate if the participants feelings change from the outset to completion. This will be assessed by recording the scores of the Weight Bias Internalisation Scale at the outset and then at the completion of the IBSR sessions. Additionally the Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) scale and the Beck Depression Inventory will be used to record any wellbeing and mental health changes amongst the participants. 

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Obesity Self-Stigma Curriculum Overview:

This study consisted of six workshops to identify, address, and reduce weight and obesity related self-stigma. In order to break down this topic we have six critical themes outlined below:

1. Self-stigma, judgments, and limitations
    -The first session emphasizes the importance of understanding self-stigma in order to reduce harmful beliefs due to being overweight. This was introduced through Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR).

2. Prejudice and loss
    -This session explores ones own judgments relating to weight.

3. Me, my body, and my weight
    -This session is designed to support participants to explore and work through their own negative beliefs about their body and their weight.

4. Shame and guilt
    -The purpose of this session is to support participants to identify their guilt and shame and to find forgiveness for themselves. It also supports participants to see where they still blame others for their weight issues.

5. Communication and the meaning of overweight
    -In this workshop we support participants to communicate and learn how to say an honest no. This session also asks participants to identify some of the more complicated beliefs about what being overweight means to a person. 

6. Who I truly am- my health, my body, my life 
    - This session is designed to support participants to experience the power within themselves and to find their own advice for how to find the kindness and friendliness in the world. It is also designed to support participants to find all the support they need to find their own advice and to be their own inspiration rather than a source of pain. 

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