Dario Bacchini, Anna Lisa Amodeo, Serena Vajro, Maria Rosaria Licenziati

La valutazione psicologica del bambino obeso attraverso l'utilizzo del Test del Disegno della Figura Umana e del Bender Gestalt Test

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The aim of this research was to examine the psychological problems linked to childhood obesity, a phenomenon that is constantly increasing in developed capitalist countries. The study was conducted on a sample of 45 obese children (mean age = 8.80; S.D. = 1.69), 18 boys and 27 girls, who attended a clinic that specialised in the treatment of childhood obesity. Two control groups were considered: the first consisted of 45 children of normal weight selected from schools; the second group consisted of 30 children of normal weight selected from hospital wards. Each individual was asked to draw a human figure and complete the Bender Gestalt Test. These tests were codified according to the Koppitz method which enables both the cognitive and emotional aspects of development to be evaluated. Multivariate analysis (MANOVA) showed that obese children have greater problems in emotional development compared to the two control groups. This was due in particular to the presence of externalising problems (weak control of impulses). The percentage of obese children with potential psychological risk is about 40%. No relationships with ideal body weight emerged, confirming the multifactorial nature of obesity. The results indicate the need for further studies to be carried out to evaluate the effects of obesity over time and the need to back up conventional medical treatment of obesity with psychological assistance, at least in some cases.

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